There are a few other reasons why you may need to consider using an activator: Perhaps you have too much high-carbon material (BROWNS such as dried leaves, straw, sawdust, etc.) It is often also referred to as compost starter, composter maker or compost accelerator, and is an organic substance that will basically speed up the compost time of your materials in the bin. A rich, crumbling compost provides the organic matter and nutrients your plants need to thrive. Homemade compost is invaluable in the garden – it’s a great soil improver, mulch and growing medium. Your email address will not be published. 4. Homemade activators include fresh animal manure, spoiled fruit or vegetables, high-protein dog food or blood meal. According to … In fact, small amounts of horse manure can be easily composted using a shovel or pitchfork. Once a week or so, aerate your pile using a compost crank or garden fork. These are usually added in layers on top of the recently added fruit and vegetable scraps. One thing that will really rev up a compost pile is boosting it with a compost activator. I make a concoction that really speeds up the process, I mix beer, a soft drink and urine together in a hose sprayer and soak the pile. This is where compost activators can come in and get your compost pile cranking out some awesome humus very quickly. A compost activator adds nitrogen which gives all those microbes something to work on, thus creating heat. How to Make a Homemade Compost Accelerator. KEY POINT: Most compost piles created over time by regular additions simply do not heat up well. Compost inoculators add microbes to your compost pile, not nutrients. 6. Compost activators can be expensive! However, unless you're intending to compost only high-carbon materials, you won't need a compost activator, according to the Cornell Waste Management Institute (see References 2) "Green" ingredients like food scraps and grass clippings will supply adequate nitrogen for microbes to thrive (see References 3). 1. You still need to add green and brown materials to your compost, and keep it moist for it to decompose properly. of actual nitrogen for every 3 bushels or 4 cubic feet of dry leaves. Shredded newspaper Glossy magazines don’t make for good compost, but thin printed paper can go on the pile. Use compost as a soil conditioner. Do Not Sell My Data Artificial activators work, but they are created from chemical compounds. They break down more slowly, so it's a good idea to chop them up fairly small. Avocado tree’s drop there leaves in the spring (at least mine do) I started my compost pile with green avocado leaves (nitrogen?) Of course, you don’t have to buy a product in order to rev up your compost. Do not saturate or make the compost soggy. One of the best compost activators on the market is Gardener’s Supply’s Super Hot Compost Starter. Place a 1- to 2-inch layer of garden soil on top of the activator. What Is a Compost Accelerator / Activator / Inoculator? ‘Activators’ can be added to your compost to help kick-start decomposition and speed up composting. And, again it will save on landfill. Carbon comes from brown material, such as woody stems and cardboard. We define a compost activator as an ingredient added to waste that helps start or improve waste breakdown into compost with minimal hassle (eg odour, flies, rats, etc). But omnivores and carnivores do produce waste with possible risks to our health. A few spadefuls can be worked into a compost pile and used as a compost accelerator. It is made up of peanut meal, kelp meal, alfalfa, and poultry litter. I started my compost pile in the fall, my source of leaves is from avocado trees. Although these microbes are found naturally in soil they may sometimes need a boost to really get the compost pile fired up. It's also available online. Uses of compost. Gardeners use compost activators when composting large quantities of high-carbon materials. Now, I know I will get a few raised eyebrows when I mention this next organic compost activator – human urine. Lime will balance out the pH of a pile of highly acidic materials, like pine needles. Compost activators help break down materials high in carbon but low in nitrogen, like the large amounts of fallen leaves collected in the autumn. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. This process does not require any special tools or structures. In my opinion, using starters is good advice and certainly can’t do any harm. Sprinkle just a little on top of new additions to your compost pile. (See References 1, pages 17-18) How Much to Add Not only will it speed the decomposition process, it will add nutrients as well. Good nitrogen sources include Urea, blood meal, grass clippings and alfalfa meal. Comfrey is so rich that it can be used as if it was manure to activate a slow compost heap. If you are starting a pile from scratch and don’t have access to old compost, use a good quality compost starter as a substitute. Great Compost Activators. A Word About Activators. Finished compost is teeming with all types of bacteria and organisms. Nitrogen sources include alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, blood meal, or finished manure. Naturally occurring microorganisms get a boost from a reputable compost … Another tried and true method of kick-starting your compost is by taking a one gallon bucket of finished compost and dumping it back onto your pile. Activators are designed to speed up the compost process by providing sugar or nitrogen to trigger rapid microbial growth. It works really well for jump starting the decomposition of a compost pile. Step 6 Toss the compost lightly with a rake or shovel to evenly distribute the accelerator and the new soil throughout the pile. Other natural compost activators that aren't as widely available include meals of alfalfa, blood, bone, cottonseed, fish, hoof, and horn. 1. The Add-as-You Go compost pile is a little more problematic, and is a likely candidate for using an activator. A good source is the soil underneath a tree or in the woods. Compost activators add nitrogen, microorganisms, or both to your pile. Comfrey as a Compost Activator. You should not be able to recognize any of the items you put in there. I use mine for all sorts of different applications in my yard. Compost (/ ˈ k ɒ m p ɒ s t / or / ˈ k ɒ m p oʊ s t /) is organic matter that has been broken down into simpler organic or inorganic matter in a process called composting. YARDS AND LARGE AREAS: Use a hose on sprayer. Compost Activators To help compost be the best it can be you can add compost activators – their job is to inoculate the compost pile with their nutrients, giving it a serious BOOST. Urine has been long-established as a free compost "activator" (aka "liquid gold"), because it's full of nitrogen, but there are other benefits too. Naturally, this can take a while. Time and Temperature Control Cuts of comfrey fresh or wilted can be laid onto the compost heap, layered with the weeds or grass cuttings. Compost accelerators can give your compost pile a kick start. Because different nitrogen fertilizers contain different amounts of nitrogen, the amount of fertilizer to add as an activator depends on the type you're using. If you do not, use one of the other methods. If your mixture of materials to be composted has a C:N ratio higher than about 30:1, however, then addition of nitrogen will … Although most of us will not be able to make finished compost in two to three weeks as some manufacturers claim, there are significant advantages to using a tumbler. It’s this heat that really gets the compost pile pumping out fresh humus. To increase the rate of decomposition, microbes need a boost. Green manure is a good way to sequester and add slower-release nitrogen to soil or compost. Use manure as a natural activator. Compost is an extremely popular and useful soil amendment that most gardeners can’t go without. Bio-Activator consists of naturally occurring micro-organisms attached to organic compost. Pile never heated up added maure and soil, some evidence of breakdown, worms and bugs present. Posted on April 16, 2011 by Admin in Simple Composting // 5 Comments. A new compost … of calcium nitrate. This process recycles various organic materials otherwise regarded as waste products and produces a soil conditioner (the compost).. Compost is rich in nutrients. One of the best compost activators on the market is Gardener’s Supply’s Super Hot Compost Starter. Activators come in all kinds of flavors from natural activators to commercial artificial activators. However, you may occasionally end up with bulk amounts of carbon- or nitrogen-rich wastes. Replaces Water. To make good compost, you need a 50:50 mix of materials that are rich in nitrogen and carbon. It's cheap and quick-acting. Top-dressing a garden with compost will increase the soil fertility and prevent weeds. (See References 1, page 6) While you don't need to maintain a precise balance of carbon and nitrogen in your compost pile, providing adequate supplies of both will produce compost faster. If you find an old package of fertilizer in your shed that you’re not sure if it’s any good you can toss it in to your compost pile and any nitrogen it has in it will help to accelerate the compost breakdown. Carbon serves as a food source, while they use nitrogen to build proteins and reproduce. Help it break down faster by shredding it. What is a compost activator? This is the best use of the stalks, which take longer to breakdown. Here are some browns to put in your compost: If you want to increase microbial populations, a handful of garden soil or finished compost will do the job as well as commercially available inoculators. Otherwise, a homemade compost activator is using urine on it from time to time or else add a few bunches of nettles to the heap or some comfrey leaves. Use a Compost Tumbler. Regular treatments with Bio-Activator and good … Too dry, add water along with some high in nitrogen compost activator, such as blood & bone, pelleted organic fertiliser or chook poo. A compost activator is a high-nitrogen material that can provide the boost of nitrogen your compost pile needs to start composting. Energy Source. Homemade compost is invaluable in the garden – it’s a great soil improver, mulch and growing medium. Control the pH of your compost by adding urine or Lyme when you turn your compost. This helps to distribute them more completely throughout the compost pile and help them find the undigested organic material to work on. Blood, fish and bone meal are all great nitrogen rich fertilisers which could be added to … A layer of wilted comfrey can be … If you want to try the product, try it. As you build your compost pile, sprinkle the liquid activator between the layers to ensure a supply of nitrogen throughout. KEY POINT: Most compost piles created over time by regular additions simply do not heat up well. So any such pet waste should be buried deep in the compost … As it turns out, both wine … To raise the pH of your compost, add lime. There could also be a condition where there just isn’t enough green materials (or nitrogen) added to the pile to get it cooking enough. To make good compost, you need a 50:50 mix of materials that are rich in nitrogen and carbon. Activators can be added when there are times when you want to speed the composting process up. (See References 1, pages 17-18). At the London Waste Eco Park, the compost is made from about 5% food waste, the rest is green waste (grass clippings, prunings etc). And a few buckets of old compost placed into a new pile will quickly re-introduce these organisms to start breaking down the fresh material. To keep costs down, try alfalfa meal. Cuts of comfrey fresh or wilted can be laid onto the compost heap, layered with the weeds or grass cuttings. So how do wine, beer and gardening collide? Activators can get a slow compost heap sped up. Place a 1- to 2-inch layer of garden soil on top of the activator. He says a handful of finished compost will do the same thing. COMPOST PILES: To speed up the composting process, use 1 cup of Medina Soil Activator to each yard of compost. Got compost? Tips 4-7 Everything You Need to Know About Compost Activators. In addition, a simple, free-standing pile can be easily turned into compost. Common compost activators include: comfrey leaves, grass clippings, young weeds, and well-rotted chicken manure. As far as “just pushing a product” I do believe I mention in the article that compost activators are not necessarily needed, but can be used to speed up the process. Compost that breaks down slowly often lacks nitrogen, the most common limiting nutrient in the compost pile. and brown dried grass clippings (carbon?) 3. It’s also very good for the garden. Whether you are a seasoned user of commercial accelerators in traditional and cold composting heaps or are looking to find out more about using the HOTBIN, here we will do a quick overview about why we do not recommend the addition of these … Perfect for adding nutrients and breaking up heavy soil, it’s often referred to as black gold. Apr 2, 2013 - This Pin was discovered by Leah D. Discover (and save!) Another good way to use compost as an activate is in the form of compost tea. Compost (/ ˈ k ɒ m p ɒ s t / or / ˈ k ɒ m p oʊ s t /) is organic matter that has been broken down into simpler organic or inorganic matter in a process called composting. Moisture, nitrogen and carbon can all work together to s… Do not saturate or make the compost soggy. © 2017 Carbon Media Group Agriculture A rich, crumbling compost provides the organic matter and nutrients your plants need to thrive. Use 3 to 4 times a year. ‘Activators’ can be added to your compost to help kick-start decomposition and speed up composting. Compost Accelerator Recipe. If the sprayer has an adjustment, set for 6 tablespoons or 3 ounces per gallon. So if it’s so good for your garden, why use soil at all? The dark liquid that forms is known as compost tea and is a very good compost activator. The organic nitrogen fertilizers blood meal and fish meal require 1 1/4 qt. The Benefits of Compost Activator: Some Benefit if You Use Compost Activator for Your Plant eBook: Hodge, Kathryn : Amazon.ca: Kindle Store Most of us are in a hurry to get good compost as soon as possible. Just add it to your compost, wet it down, and let it go to work. . Carbon comes from brown material, such as woody stems and cardboard. Moisten the activator layer lightly with water. Are you just pushing a product? The hungry microbes are naturally occurring in soil, and will find their way to the organic matter and get to work on their own. Repeat monthly. Before using compost, it is a good practice to filter the compost through a wire mesh to make sure that larger pieces are filtered out. Cover crops (especially those for over-winter use) can also use and sequester nitrogen (and thus fresh urine) for later crop availability. Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of activator on top of the organic compost layer. When finished it should look, feel and smell like rich, dark soil. Help it break down faster by shredding it. Moisten the activator layer lightly with water. Before you go out whizzing on your compost pile, please remember to do this in moderation if you decide to. In compost: You can toss excess comfrey leaves and plants into your compost and still benefit from the released nutrients when you use your finished compost. I also mention organic activator alternative such as finished compost, manures, and even human urine (as weird as that is, but it is a good activator). The nitrogen helps everything break down as it fuels the micro-organisms in the heap. Common compost activators include: comfrey leaves, grass clippings, young weeds, and well-rotted chicken manure. in your compost bin, and not enough GREENS (nitrogen). Nitrogen comes from lush, green material such as grass clippings. Compost is a gardener's best friend. Horse Manure Compost. Here we will go over some of the different types of activators you can use to kick your compost pile in high gear. Some common compost activated materials are comfrey leaves, young weeds, well-rotted chicken manure and grass clippings. Garden centers and feed stores often carry alfalfa meal. You need to add carbon materials to your compost pile to provide energy for microorganisms while they break down your organic matter. Comfrey as a Compost Activator. Natural activators don't just work to speed up the … And don’t forget to regularly turn the heap over! They need to be a minimum of 1.2 metres high and two metres wide. It even acts as an activator and helps to speed up the composting process. I’ve used commercial compost activators and had excellent results, but I’ve also had excellent results using a few handfuls of good garden soil, and/or a shovelful or two of material from the middle of an active compost pile. Just like good ole comfrey, yarrow acts a wonderful compost activator to speed up the decomposition of the green and brown materials you've added to your pile. It is not a sin to use a small amount of activator now and then to help spark it. Or, you can just dilute as described above and use it to water your pile. It's been said that a single yarrow leaf, finely chopped, will give you marked results in as much as a wheelbarrow full of compost materials. It is not a sin to use a small amount of activator now and then to help spark it. It is made up of peanut meal, kelp meal, alfalfa, and poultry litter. Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of activator on top of the organic compost layer. What makes composting such an appealing gardening technique is that you can control the amount of organic waste you use and exactly what you put into your compost pile. Everyone has their own view and that’s one of the things that makes gardening so interesting. Activators are basically made up of a sources of nitrogen, and it’s this nitrogen that really fuels the fire in a compost pile. Garden catalogs may recommend the purchase of a compost activator when starting a new compost pile. Yes, you read that correctly. The Cornell Waste Management Institute recommends adding .15 lbs. If it’s too dry, the bacteria will die for lack of water. Compost is raw, organic waste from your garden, kitchen, and home. Keep it moistWater is another key component in making compost, but you don't need too much. Your compost pile should be moist like a damp sponge, not soggy or waterlogged. Finished compost is usually less than half the volume of the materials you started with, but it’s much denser. It is this nitrogen material that is important because … Compost is a nitrogen- and carbon-rich soil amendment made from decomposing leaves, plant debris, coffee grounds, eggshells and soil. Really throws it into overdrive! This is a subject with as many different opinions as there are styles of gardens. The terms accelerator, activator and inoculator seem to be used interchangeably across the composting industry and no one seems, or is able to agree on a definition for any of them. And if you're a cat owner, alfalfa meal can do double duty in your home as litter. Urea requires the lowest application rate: only 5.2 oz., or less than 1 cup. Get the Optimal Balance of Compost Materials. It is filled with nitrogen and other minerals that can give your compost the punch it needs. Too much human urine can cause the pile to obviously smell bad and you don’t want a pile of debris in your back yard to start smelling like a Port-a-Potty. The piles are simple to make and there are numerous YouTube tutorials. High nitrogen additions. Compost microorganisms need both carbon and nitrogen to survive. The site and container. They aren’t required for composting – nature will facilitate the natural decay of organic material, but they do serve a purpose in getting those beneficial bacteria started. To compost pet waste is a good compost accelerator or activator. “trying to make good compost without an activator is like trying to make concrete without cement”. Composting reduces the amount of waste we send to landfill. You just need to put the finished compost in a cheesecloth bag and hang it into a bucket of water for a few days. 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