Although the YOLO Compost Tumbler produces compost faster than a traditional pile, it still takes a few weeks until your compost is ready for use.

Once your YOLO Compost Tumbler is at least 3/4 full, leave the lid on and do not add any more new material for at least four to six weeks and remember to give the tumbler a few turns three to four times a week. The speed of composting will be determined by temperature, moisture and the content of your compost.

When ready for use, the compost will give off far less heat than before and the amount of material will be reduced to around half of the original volume.

While you may still see whole egg shells, avocado pits, sticks and woody stems, most of the organic material should be unrecognisable from its original form. If vegetable peelings can be picked out and named, your compost needs more time. Mature compost is dark brown in colour, it crumbles easily, feels like soil and has a rich, earthy smell.

Remove sticks by hand or by screening/sifting, and store in bags. Lightly moist compost will continue to mature in the bag, which is good. Use as needed.

Keep in mind that using immature compost is not recommended as decomposition requires nitrogen, which it ‘steals’ from the soil and in so doing robs plants of this essential nutrient.

Try a ‘plastic bag test’ to check whether your compost is ready. Place a handful of compost into a zip-seal plastic bag and leave it closed for a few days to a week. Then, open the bag and smell the air. If you detect a bad odour, like ammonia or a sour scent, then the microbes are still at work and your compost is not yet completely decomposed. Compost that is ready should smell ‘earthy’.

Err on the side of caution and leave your compost to mature for a little longer if you’re uncertain.

Is my compost ready?
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