It is important to aerate your pile frequently. There are several ways to do this. You can simply toss the material using a shovel or pitchfork or you can use a composting tumbler. When you turn the compost pile, there will be a few days following when the temperature of the compost increases. Compost piles can get up to 170 degrees. This is a sure sign that your compost is “cooking” and working right. You will notice the items begin to turn into a dark brown or black soil-like substance. Keep aerating the compost once or twice a week until it no longer heats up in the days following the aeration. You should no longer be able to see what you originally added to the compost. Instead, the entire pile should look the same and smell like a forest.
Though there is no set answer, the consensus is once to twice a week. Every four to seven days after turning, the compost pile will begin to cool. During this process you should turn the pile to keep the contents hot (in a stage of rapid decomposition). The more air the pile receives the quicker compost is formed. The best way to keep the pile hot is to fold the edges inward and keep the pile damp. Ideal conditions will yield compost in a month, but it can take 12-24 months.
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