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Fast Composting

I have  a friend who moved into a new house that had horrible soil, made up rocks and clay. The only way to improve the soil was with compost. The problem was how to make enough compost quickly to start putting in flower beds. This method will not generate compost overnight, but it will cut the compost time considerably.  

This will require building 2 or 3 good compost bins that are easy to access. A good design can be made from wood with the back of the bin being 4 to 5 feet high and the front being 2 to 3 feet high. You can then add chicken wire to form the sides and provide aeration. You don't want the bins too deep, because this method will require accessing the bin for turning and moving the compost material on a regular basis. 

Build your pile in one of the bins, leaving the other empty. If you have built a 3 bin composter, you can make 2 piles, leaving the 3rd bin empty. Try and obtain a good mixture of greens and browns. The optimum mixture will be 2 parts green material that are high nitrogen material such as grass or fresh cutback flowers or weeds to 1 part brown material such as dried leaves. For the fastest composting, the smaller the material  the better. If possible shred material, a lawnmower works well with leaves, but a mechanical shredder or chipper may be required for woody materials.

Mix all material throughly and wet the pile to about a 50% moisture content. This will be about the consistency of a wrung out wash cloth. 

Turning the pile using  involves physically moving the contents from the full bin to an empty bin. This will give the maximum aeration to the compost pile. Turn each pile every 2 to 3 weeks, moving the contents from a full bin into an empty bin. If you have a 3 bin system, you should always have one empty bin and 2 full bins. 

The compost should be ready to use in 6 to 12 weeks.