23. May, 2020

Compost Moisture levels in dry spells

This note supplements  the page on Moisture levels at http://www.carryoncomposting.com/416920216)       link Compost Moisture

When the moisture level of the composting materials fall below 40% decomposition will start to slow down and will virtually stop below 15%. During hot dry spells it is worth checking the moisture level and adding more water if required.

  The use of a “corkscrew” type aerator Compost Aeration during composting will enable a sample of material to be removed from the centre and lower levels of the bin or heap to provide a sample for moisture checks.  A handful of the compost is removed from the aerator  and  squeezed.  The  compost should have the consistency and moisture content of a wrung-out sponge.

Alternatively,  the sample can be tested using a moisture meter or a probe moisture meter can be inserted into the core of the bin from above or the through the side of the bin

 In the UK water can be added to the heap. I tend to “open” it up using a garden fork so that the water penetrates the material rather than run off.

 In hot climates where the sun or high environmental temperature is causing the compost to dry out there are a number of options, in addition to adding greens and waste, these include composting in a pit, rather than a bin in full sunlight, and keeping the compost covered, so as to reduce water loss by evaporation.