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Turning a Compost Pile – Easily and Cheaply

All vegetable gardeners know that composting is a great way to get organic fertilizers for your garden beds.  Turning a compost pile can be time consuming and a bit difficult to do.  

Adding organic matter made in a compost pile to your vegetable gardens nourished both the plants and the soil, giving you a healthy garden and high crop yield.

Tools for turning a compost pile

Turning a compost pile regularly is one of the best ways to increase the decomposition of it and also to solve many compost pile problems. 

Compaction of the matter and a pile that is too wet are just two common problems with compost piles that just sit and aren’t turned.

Un-turned compost piles can also get too hot which will upset the balance of microbes in them.

Compost tumblers will also prevent this problem but they are expensive.

And if you have a standing compost pile, you will need tools to aerate the pile by turning it.

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Turning a compost pile Cheaply

One of the most commonly used items to turn a compost pile is a special compost turning tool, but why not use items you might already have on hand to turn the compost pile?

Here are a handy items that you can use to turn your compost pile and get it working for you.    None of these will break your gardening bank!

  • A garden fork. You may already have this tool, so put it to another use.
  • Old golf clubs.  Put the base of the club at the bottom of the pile and lift the compost slightly
  • Recycled curtain rods, especially the ones with the corner shape are great for lifting compost.
  • Insert long pieces of rebar into the center of the compost pile and out through the edges of the bin. Next, have two people stand on either side and move them side to side to aerate the pile
  • An old floor lamp (minus the shade and electrical wires, of course) makes a great lifter for the pile.
  • Old snow skis and water skis can be use to lift and aerate the pile.
  • Old table legs or bar stool table legs can be used to move your pile around.
  • A Cordless drill with bulb augur attachment will work if your tool shed already has one.
  • Make your own compost aerator. Attach a broom handle to a Dollar Store spiral tomato stake. 

Can you think of other inexpensive DIY items to turn or aerate your compost pile?

For ideas of what you should and should not add to a compost pile, check out these articles:

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