A popular method of composting, known as the Indore Method, involves piling carbon rich and nitrogen rich materials in alternating layers and letting them stand for a year, after which they are ready to use. Many composters use a modified version of this method, by turning their pile every few weeks or months in order to speed up the process. These methods produce good quality compost with minimal effort. Some disadvantages are that nutrients are lost to leaching due to rainfall, some weeds and weed seeds are not killed because the pile may not get hot enough, and the process can take up to a year to produce finished compost. A faster method of composting was introduced by Robert D Raabe, a professor of plant pathology at the University of California, Berkeley. Commonly known as the “Berkeley method” or “fast composting”, this method produces finished compost in as little as 14 to 21 days.
- You can get compost to break down quicker if you use smaller pieces for bacteria to attach to
- A three bin system is the best way to start composting
- A compost tumbler can also be used but must be turned once a week
“The main items a compost pile needs are proper carbon to nitrogen ratio, small surface area, aeration, moisture and temperature.”