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Can you continuously add material to a pile that is composting? I22gcj10Can you continuously add material to a pile that is composting? 14dhcg10

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Can you continuously add material to a pile that is composting?

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Can you continuously add material to a pile that is composting? Empty Can you continuously add material to a pile that is composting?

Post  bvarbel on 5/25/2020, 6:07 pm

I have a 3' x 3' x 3' circular mesh enclosure for composting. It is 1/4 full. I'm constantly adding to the pile, and I'm also turning it weekly. Can I harvest compost from a pile that is constantly being added to in small amounts, or do I have to stop adding to the pile to let the compost finish?
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Post  OhioGardener on 5/25/2020, 6:43 pm

@bvarbel wrote: Can I harvest compost from a pile that is constantly being added to in small amounts, or do I have to stop adding to the pile to let the compost finish?

No, the compost needs time to "finish" before using it. As long as you are adding new things to it, there are parts that are not yet composted. If you add "green" or "unfinished" compost to your garden beds, it will steal nutrients that it needs to finish composting - and, those nutrients are robbed from the plants that need it.

It is best to have two compost bins - one that you are adding to, and one that is finishing. When you use the compost from the finished bin, make that the new "add to" bin while the other one finishes composting

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Post  plantoid on 5/25/2020, 7:20 pm

Some composting systems are supposed to allow you to put material in one end or one side and take finished stuff from below or out the finished side. They tend to be expensive 

 But in a single heap it would be labour intensive and not particular effective to drag off the un composted stuff , dig deep for the finished stuff then rebuild the heap . 
As Ohio Gardener says build two or more heaps or use two or more composting bins .
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Post  Emily49 on 5/25/2020, 7:34 pm

To add on to this, say you do have a bin you continue to add things.  And say it's cold composting. When do you stop to start the new pile? When it gets to 3-4 feet? When it gets to a certain length of time before you need finished compost?
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Post  mollyhespra on 5/25/2020, 10:08 pm

I think it just depends on how much room you have.  

Up until this weekend when we consolidated all the cold piles into one large hot pile, we would just keep piling until the pile was too big (3-4 feet is about right), and then we'd start a new one. Took a very long time to turn into usable compost, but we have the room, being in the country.
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