Summertime is a great for composting!

It’s nice outside – there are lots of available kitchen and garden scraps to add to the pile – and you can make batches so much quicker with the hotter temperatures.  Here are four quick tips to help keep your compost bin successfully cooking through the heat so you can add “black gold” to your garden!

Summertime Composting Tips

Turn that pile!


Keep the air moving in the pile – A pile needs oxygen to really start cooking. By turning the pile more frequently (with a spade or pitchfork every few days), you keep it alive and hot – and you are making sure to incorporate all of the materials more thoroughly. In the summer – the more you turn – the more the pile can heat up and burn. Once a day is optimum – but at least every few days to keep it hot and going. If you add scraps each day – just use that time to turn – it just takes a few seconds, and the reward is finished compost in a third of the time!

Keep it moist!


Water- that’s right – keep that pile moist. In the summer heat – especially here in Ohio where we are experiencing no rain and a lot of heat – you need to add some water to the pile to keep it moist. Don’t drench it and don’t let it dry out – just add some water every few days to keep some moisture content in the pile and keep it cooking.

shred it!


Summertime also means active animal time – so if you have an open style compost bin – or if animals can get to it – make sure to bury the additions to the pile to minimize the attraction to vermin. Whether you have a shredder, an old lawn mower to run over the scraps with, or a big knife or spade to chop it all up with – keep what you are adding to the pile in smaller sizes and it will decompose that much quicker. It will also be easier to bury in the pile and be less attractive to skunks, raccoons and scavengers. Remember to never add meats or oils – they are harder to compost and really attract the pests.

Burlap makes a great compost cover


Our compost bin is out in the open in the middle of the garden – when it start to get really hot – we will put a few boards or a piece of roofing over the top to help keep the moisture in and the sun from drying it completely out. So give your bin some shade – and if you keep an open pile – cover it with a burlap sack or some straw to keep in the moisture.


Good Compost + Healthy Plants!

Get that compost cooking. Add all of those summer salad remnants, coffee grounds, melon rhines, corn husks and all the other good “extras” that come out of the summer kitchen. Remember that finished compost should be fine and sweet smelling and cool to the touch. If you are turning the pile and still feeling heat – it’s still cooking and is not ready. If its broken down, sweet-smelling and cool to the touch – it’s ready to use! When you get a batch that is looking close to being good – start a new one for new materials – and turn the old one for a few more weeks to finish it off.

It’s an incredible side dressing and mulch to your summer garden plants.
Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary

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9 thoughts on “4 Quick Tips for Summertime Composting!

  • January 4, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    i am curious ~ what do you do with all the squash seeds??? i am not sure if they should go into the compost pile or not ~ thanks

  • July 28, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Alfalfa hay is actually really good to use. It has no seeds in it (other than maybe a few weed seeds if the field is weedy) . We cut it when it’s 20% in the flower stage. No seeds and it’s high in nitrogen too!

  • July 11, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I love the way that you explain the “how to” DIY. It is so helpful when the details have pictures & step by step instructions. I am new to your web site but this is one that is being added to my favorites list. LOVE IT . Thanks So Much!!!!

  • April 15, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for this post…it makes so much more sense to make my own compost instead of buying it…my problem is a lack of green goodies. Most of my kitchen stuff goes to the chickens and we have no lawn/green materials otherwise by early spring here in the foothills of the Sierras. Do you think that I can use alfalfa hay from the feed store…adding a few handfulls as needed? (Ps…I think that you meant melon “rinds”. Thanks so much .

  • July 2, 2012 at 7:53 am

    We’ve been trying to make our compost more active by turning it more, keeping it watered and adding fresh scraps to the pile. We haven’t had a lot of success with it even after adding some fertilizer to activate it. Good post!

    • July 2, 2012 at 8:14 am

      Compost is just such a great way to add so much to your soil! We made ours from some recycled pallets in a few hours – it’s an inexpensive way to get started. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  • June 30, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    I absolutely love the smell of a well cooked compost! Very informative post…thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

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