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This method of composting is really an expansion on Stick It In a Pile and Let It Rot. Basically, it allows the compost in the pile to rot faster--because energy is being put into it. Namely, YOURS!

First, put compost accelerator in it as detailed here. Then, every few days, go out and turn the pile. Some people use a pitchfork to do this, but there's a neat tool called a compost aerator which will do the job easier. This tool is basically a metal pole with flanges on it. When you stick it into the pile, the flanges lie flat against the pole. But when you go to pull it out, the flanges flap down and catch on the debris. This has the effect of pulling the stuff at the bottom of the pile to the top. Since the stuff at the bottom has come up, the stuff at the top falls into where the bottom stuff was.

This churning allows air to get all through the compost pile. Since the bacteria and mold growing in a compost pile like air, and all of the debris is exposed to both air and rot microorganisms, it finishes faster.

How often to do this depends on how fast you want the compost to finish, and also on your willingness to go out there and do anything with a bunch of dead leaves, weeds, etc. Recommendations I've seen range from daily to every two weeks. I've even read a claim somewhere that says compost can be finished in as little as 1 1/2 weeks if the gardener is willing to churn it twice a day! I don't know if it's true or not, though...

Other devices have been invented to make the job of turning a compost pile easier. These are usually tumbling devices. The idea behind these Compost Tumblers is that it's easier to just turn a crank, roll a cylinder, or grab flanges on the outside of a mounted cylinder, than it is to pitchfork a compost pile.

In these devices, there isn't a compost "pile", per se. Rather, the compost is contained in the device, which is usually mounted on some kind of stand. These are okay if you don't have a great big bunch of debris to compost. What's a big bunch is a kind of vague concept, but from memory I recall some of these holding a cubic yard of stuff for the big ones. A bit small if you have a whole lot's worth of weeds to get rid of, but enough space for the organic matter around an average suburban home.

The basic operation is simple: You heave the biodegradable debris up into an opening in the compost tumbler, throw in some compost activator, and use whatever mechanism the device provides to turn it. Do it every day or so and some manufacturers claim you can have finished compost in two weeks.

TOO EASY? Want to make a PROJECT out of it?? OKAY, here's the ROCKET SCIENCE OF COMPOSTING!


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