Knowing when your Compost is Ready…
Finished compost, known as “humus,” is dark and crumbly with an earthy smell. You will know your compost is ready when it takes this form and there are no visible food scraps.
A simple way to test if compost is finished is to seal a small sample in a plastic bag for 24 to 48 hours. If no strong odors are released when you open the bag, the compost is ready.
Given the cool climate and short summer season, the composting process in Newfoundland and Labrador can take one to two years. The amount of time it takes your compost pile to produce finished compost, or humus, will depend on the material you add and the effort you put in.
Using your finished compost:
- Use as mulch around trees, shrubs and plants
- Mix with potting soils for use in potted house plants
- Dig some compost into your garden soil before you start to plant
- Use as a top dressing in flower beds and gardens
- Use as a soil conditioner – compost helps aerate clay soils
- Give some to a gardener
Using compost in the garden enriches the soil with organic matter – improving heat and moisture retention. Plus, it promotes the growth of healthy, pest-resistant plants and lawns, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers, pesticides and watering.