How to compost easily and slowly translates into a low maintenance style that is especially useful to people who want long term results from their composting efforts. This method generally yields compost in six months to a year.
Quick composting (step-by-step instructions found here) is perhaps a more popular method simply because of the fact that it yields results in as little as four to six weeks. However, this method is more demanding on your time, materials and effort.
Slow composting requires much less maintenance and a slower accumulation of ingredients. It’s easier to build a larger compost pile with less effort if you decide to incorporate this style into your long-term organic gardening efforts each spring. You can have a massage pile of rich humus ready for spring use, with minimal effort required throughout the winter months.
Here’s your slow composting recipe for an exceptionally rich pile:
1. Follow the same recipe for quick compost here. The one exception is that you don’t have to combine all the ingredients at one time. You can use a few ingredients to start your pile and add more as they become available.
Also, there’s no need to stir this pile often…only when you think about. (Nice!)
NOTE: Don’t add diseased plants or weeds to this low maintenance compost recipe. Slow composting doesn’t usually get hot enough to destroy harmful pathogens caused by these materials.
2. Sturdy bin – Be sure to get a large, very sturdy compost bin in which to build your pile. Since you are using the slow method, you are likely to accumulate much more compost than with the quick method.
Remember, you’re in this for the long haul, so plan accordingly.
3. Protect your composting pile from outdoor creatures! Since this is a slow method, you will have to plan for unwanted animals that may be intrigued by its ingredients. That’s why it’s important to actually build or buy a bin rather than use the old method of simply surrounding the pile with chicken wire.
Plus, a chicken wire wrapped pile will take much longer to complete since it doesn’t retain heat as well as a bin.
4. Layer ingredients with equal portions of dry and wet materials.
5. Sprinkle a bit of water throughout the layers to keep the pile damp, not soaking wet. (Refer to the quick start guide for more tips.)
NOTE: Air is a key ingredient in creating your compost!
Additional Composting Tips
Keep an eye on your pile. Rich, fertile compost should be available for use in your organic gardening projects in about six months. If however, you wish to speed along the process a little, you can add a ready-made composter that will jump start your efforts.