How Long does it Take to Make Compost?

Sharing is caring!

Last Updated on January 3, 2023

Well, the answer to that question depends on a lot of factors.

On average, it can take up to six months for your compost pile to fully decompose. Like I mentioned earlier, it depends on a lot of factors. For your compost pile to decompose quickly, you will need to ensure that the right conditions are in place.

When you decide to make a compost pile, you should have it at the back of your mind that it doesn’t happen overnight. Your compost pile can take anywhere between a few months or years to be ready for use. If you want to harvest your compost faster, you will have to put in the necessary work.

Factors that Affect Composting Time 

It doesn’t matter the type of materials you toss into your compost pile; the duration it takes for compost to be ready for use depends on the following factors

1.    Temperature 

The temperature needed for composting to take place ranges from 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 158 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2.    Shape and Size 

The shape and size of your compost materials also determine how long it will take for it to be ready. This is because a large material takes longer to decompose compared to when you break them down into smaller pieces.

How Long does it take to Make Compost?

3.    Density 

Density is another factor that determines how long it takes for compost to be ready. Heavy materials like wood fibers will take a longer time to decompose compared to straws. Reducing the density of the materials you add to your compost bin will help to speed up the decay process. Hence, making sure that your compost is ready sooner.

4.    Size of Compost Pile 

The size of the compost pile also determines the composting time. If you pile up too many materials, you should expect it to take longer to decompose compared to when you are composting in a small bin. You can speed up the composting rate by making use of small piles or composting in batches.

5.    Water and Air 

Moisture and air are other important elements that need to be right for composting to take place. Your compost materials need to get enough air and moisture for the decomposition to take place. You can speed things up by ensuring you water the bin regularly and turn the pile. We will talk more about this later in the post.

Best Season to Compost 

Many of our readers ask us what the best time is to make a compost bin. In practice, composting takes place faster in a warm environment with the right amount of moisture. This is why compost tumblers and hot bins compost materials faster than when left in a pile.

Summertime or any other season will be okay to start a compost pile. But we do not advise you to start one in winter. This is because the pile wouldn’t get the required heat to start the decomposition process. This means that the pile will only begin to decompose once spring sets in.

How Long does it Take to Make Compost? 

Like we mentioned earlier, it can take between three to six months to get your compost pile to fully decay with the right factors in place. There are certain things you can do to speed up the time it takes for your compost pile to be ready. We have broken them down for you below.

How to Make Compost Faster? 

You can speed up the compost time by ensuring that:

  • Use the Right Materials 

if you add the right materials in your compost, there will not be any issues with the decomposition process. Include the green and brown materials in the right ratio and there wouldn’t be any issues with your compost. If you want to harvest your compost faster, you need to use waste that can decompose quickly. Some examples of nitrogen-rich green materials you can use include grass clippings, vegetables, fruits, while carbon-rich brown materials include paper, wood chips, sawdust, and straw.


  • Use a Large Bin 

If you are composing in a bin, you should endeavor to make use of a large bin. This is because the materials decompose quickly when they have enough space to retain the heat produced in the container. A small size bin will not be able to produce enough heat like a large one. Also, you should opt for plastic bins instead of wooden ones. Compost bins made out of wood do not retain much heat compared to plastic ones.

  • Shred the Materials 

Before adding any material into the compost bin, you should ensure that it has been shredded into tiny pieces. Adding large-sized materials inside your compost bin only further delays the decomposition process. Shred the papers, trim the grasses, and breakdown the wood into pieces. This makes it easier for the worms and nature to work on the materials quicker than when they are not broken down.

  • Add Moisture 

You can also speed up the compost time by making sure that the pile is wet. You don’t need to flood the bin with water, a little sprinkle every two or three days will be enough to kick start the decay of the materials in the bin.

How Long does it take to Make Compost?

  • Turn the Pile 

This is important if you want to harvest your compost quickly. Turning the pile makes it possible for heat and air to get to all parts of the bin. It also ensures that all the materials get enough heat and moisture. You can make use of a rake to turn the pile once or twice a week. I suggest you do this often if you have the time. This will help the materials to settle in the bin and also encourage the activities of the microorganism needed to speed up the decay.

  • Use a Compost Tumbler 

A compost tumbler or rotating barrel as it is often called is a quick way to compost in an apartment. These compost tumblers are designed to save the stress and time associated with maintaining a compost pile. They also reduce the smell and make the whole process neat. Let’s not forget also that there are brands that can process compost in less than two weeks. So investing in a rotating barrel might be a good investment if you are looking to harvest your compost quickly.


How quickly can you make compost?

Many composting facilities are open for you to drop off your kitchen waste. The fastest way to compost is to use a home-composter, which you can set up at home. Home-composters are usually made from plastic or metal.

You probably already know that the best way to make compost is to use green, brown, and black materials. But how much time do you have to spend on this process? The answer depends on several factors, including:

What size container do you have? How much time do you want to spend on composting? Do you have a compost pile or an outdoor bin? What kind of soil do you have? If your garden soil is clay, then you may need to add more than a pound of peat moss per cubic foot. If it’s sandy, you might only need to add a half pound per cubic foot.

In just a few weeks, you can create rich, black soil that holds moisture well and is loaded with nutrients. 

You may have heard that it takes three to six months to make a good compost. But the reality is, it depends on how much compost material you have available and how often you feed it. Composting is not just a matter of throwing your kitchen scraps into a bin and waiting for the worms to come. It’s an active process that requires constant feeding to keep the compost going.

The best way to get started with composting is to purchase a container, such as a trash can, or a large plastic bucket, and start your compost pile in your yard. It’s important to get a large enough bin to hold everything you have to add to it, and it should be located out of direct sunlight. If you don’t have a yard, you can use a small plastic trash can.

Can you make compost in 2 weeks?

Yes. The first pile you make should be started with one part leaves and one part manure. The leaves should be placed in the center of your pile with the manure on the outside. If your compost is left out in the weather, it will decompose more quickly.

How do I tell when my compost is ready to use?

If you've made a good pile that looks like brown earth, it's probably ready for use. Remember, it's not done until it's dark enough for your chickens to lay their eggs in it!

How can I speed up my compost decomposition?

Compost is basically a pile of organic matter, and you want it to be damp so that the microbes can do their work.

The more air space, the less likely they are to break down your food. This means that you need to cover the pile with some kind of lid or sheeting to keep out the air. You can add water to help the process along, but if you have a lot of it, you can drown the microbes.


There is no straight answer to the question of how long does it take to make compost. It depends on the factors we have mentioned earlier. You can also speed up the decomposition process by adopting the methods mentioned above.

Sharing is caring!