Why is my pile taking forever to compost?
If your pile is less than 3 cubic feet in volume, it needs more mass to compost effectively - so build a bigger pile.

Your pile might have too much carbon and not enough nitrogen. Nitrogen materials are often wet (food scraps, grass clippings), so mixing them into dry carbon materials helps add moisture. Add water, if needed, so the moisture level feels like a damp wrung-out sponge.

Strive for a C:N (carbon to nitrogen) ratio ranging between 25:1 and 30:1. Good carbon materials are leaves, shredded straw, shredded newspaper, wood shavings, saw dust. Good nitrogen materials are grass clippings, food scraps, herbivorous animal bedding, plant debris.

Monitoring your pile temperature and turning it whenever it dips below 110 degrees keeps your pile active for the fastest breakdown.

Chopping up your materials into smaller particle size improves the rate of decomposition. Organic materials can be chopped, shredded, split, bruised, or punctured to increase their surface area. Don’t ‘powder’ materials because they will compact and impede air movement in the pile.

Show All Answers

1. Why does my compost smell bad? How do I fix it?
2. Why is my pile taking forever to compost?
3. How do I keep rodents out of my pile?
4. How do I avoid bears in my pile?
5. Bears have already been in my compost, how do I make them go away?
6. Are flies in my compost pile good or bad?
7. Is it okay to put diseased plants, invasive weeds or weed seeds in my compost pile?
8. How can I compost weed seeds, diseased plants and invasive weeds with rhizomatous root systems?
9. Can I make a fertilizer out of weeds?
10. How do I know when the compost is finished?
11. Can I add grass or plants that have been treated with herbicides or pesticides to my pile?
12. What kind of animal manure is good for composting?
13. Why do my eggshells take forever to compost?
14. How do I compost my food scraps during the winter when my pile is frozen solid?