What Are Natural, Homemade Compost Starters


Are you finding that your Homemade Compost pile is taking too long to decompose? Why not use a compost activator? You will find some on the shelves of garden centers or just in the garden. Make your choice !


How To Activate Compost Decomposition?

Compost is the material resulting from the decomposition of organic garden and kitchen waste, thanks to the intervention of various microorganisms and macro-organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, worms, lice, etc.


Prepared in good conditions, compost takes from 4 to 6 months to mature. It is however possible to speed up the process thanks to the use of a compost activator.


A compost activator is a substance added to the compost pile to increase the population of decomposer microorganisms or to make those already present more effective.


What Is The Best Compost Starter?

Commercial Compost Activators

Commercial compost activators contain microorganisms (bacteria and enzymes) and or organic or mineral nitrogen fertilizers to promote the activity of microorganisms (nitrogen is necessary for the growth of bacteria and insects in the compost pile).


Often packaged in powder or mini-granule form, they should be added either at the beginning of the compost, each time organic matter is added, or spread in successive layers.


Know : While microorganisms and organic fertilizers are safe for the environment, this is not the case with chemical mineral fertilizers. Some compost activators based on mineral fertilizers contain especially ammonium sulfate (rich in nitrogen) which is toxic to aquatic organisms. A tip: carefully read the composition of the product you buy.


Natural Composting Activators

Don’t want to spend money buying a compost activator? Be sure to find something in the garden or in the surrounding nature that will naturally stimulate the decomposition of your waste.


  • Ferns, nettles and comfrey are harvested before flowering: These prolific, nitrogen-rich foliage plants, like many others, can be added to the compost pile after coarse chopping. For faster action, use them in liquid manure sprinkled directly on the compost (in moderation).
  • A shovelful of good garden soil : if your soil is balanced, it naturally contains a host of bacteria and fungi ready to go.
  • A residue of semi-ripe to mature compost rich in micro-organisms also allows for a good seeding of the new compost pile.
  • Barnyard manure or herbivore can also serve as an accelerator. Regarding horse manure, you should know that deworming traces take 3 weeks to disappear. Therefore, it is better to wait a while before introducing it into the compost.
  • Urine: Here the home compost activator is the easiest to use. Pure, in watering the compost pile, it has no equal to revive microbial activity!
  • Lime or ash: By raising the pH of the compost pile, lime promotes greater bacterial activity. Firewood ash contains large amounts, but be careful not to overdo it, with excess lime, you may stop the decomposition of your waste.

How To Activate The Decay Of Dead Leaves?

In the fall, dead leaves arrive in droves and can quickly saturate the compost pile. They give very thin soil ideal for sowing but the leaves of some trees like walnut, oak, chestnut are rich in tannins and decompose slowly. To facilitate their decomposition, grind them in advance with the lawnmower. Once mixed into the compost pile, use a quick compost activator (urine, manure or commercial activator).


When To Use A Compost Starter?

You can use a compost activator as soon as the pile of waste is difficult to digest, which may be the case. when the amounts of carbonaceous materials are greater than nitrogenous materials (especially in autumn and during pruning periods), or when it contains solid waste.


The only season to avoid is winter. With the cold, microorganism activity is almost non-existent: using a compost activator would be useless.



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