Surprisingly this is actually quite a controversial topic for some people. Some say you absolutely must turn the compost heap on a regular basis in order to ensure that the organic matter will turn in to good quality compost. Many believe that if you do not do it then you simply will never get a good end product.
I disagree. If you read my tips on how to get good compost then you will find that this is all that you really need to concern yourself with. I am not saying that turning over the pile will not speed up the process slightly but the return is often simply not worth the effort.
Let’s take a look at the most likely scenario.
Compost Heap Turning
You have followed the guidelines in the guide about making good compost. You layer all different kinds of organic matter to produce a pile that is well aerated and spread evenly across your compost bin.
You have heard that to make compost the pile needs to be turned every month or so to get the end product. So, you go about it. You use your best garden spade and get to work.
It is totally back-breaking.
And the result?
You “may” get your final compost a little quicker. Maybe a few weeks to a month sooner than if you did not do this on a regular basis.
Personally I simply do not find the effort that needs to be put in worth the trouble.
Either a large compost tumbler or simply wait it out. I would go for a composting tumbler as turning the drum has the same effect as digging and turning the compost pile without the back-breaking effort.
But if you stay with a more traditional compost heap then I would recommend that you just follow the simple rules of ensuring that you layer a mix of different materials.
It is not the fastest method of making compost bu the end result is the same.
I can tell you from experience that you will still always get a great final product, it just takes a little bit longer to actually get there. It depends how much of a hurry you are in and how strong your back is at the end of the day.
I would rather put the effort in to digging a new vegetable bed which will serve me for years and years once I add in all the great compost that is slowly cooking in the corner.