When Should You Turn Your Compost?

A compost collects the plant waste during the season. There are different containers such as thermal composters, open wooden boxes or lattice structures. In order for the waste to rot quickly, you need to stack a good mixture of dry ingredients and rather moist material (like grass clippings) on top of each other. Over the course of a year, all the waste will decompose and you will be left with good soil that you can use in your garden.

When Should You Turn Your Compost?

When people talk about “turning compost,” they mean two things:

1) the old compost bin is emptied and

2) the finished rotted compost can be applied to the beds.

In March/early April (more precisely: after the snow melts) you can turn the compost and use it for sowing and planting. Important: Use only mature compost for this purpose. Incompletely rotted material inhibits seed germination and makes it difficult for young plants to grow. Mature compost is usually found in the lower zone of the windrow. It is quite fine crumbly, smells good and looks like fresh potting soil.

The compost must be sifted well so that you filter out the coarse components. Then spread a layer of fine substrate about 3 inches thick on the seedbed. When planting new woody plants or perennials, mix a quarter of compost into the normal planting soil. This compost does not have to be quite as fine as for seeds. You can also spread the entire compost over the beds and bury it. This way you fertilize the soil naturally.

With the leftover coarse scraps and a portion of mature compost, you’ll start a new compost that will be filled with plant material over the course of the gardening season. This compost can then be turned next year.

Extra tip: A compost bin must always be open at the bottom so that earthworms and other critters can get into the compost. They help decompose the plant waste. If you place the containers on plates, the compost will not rot. The compost is more likely to rot or dry out. So: Always leave the bottom open!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.