The point of compost is to improve soil fertility, increase the humus and introduce beneficial microbes into the soil. All these things cause the soil to become the right environment for your plant to grow and turn the soil into a fertilizer that feeds your crop.
Compost contains a mixture of “greens” and “browns”. The greens are nitrogen-rich materials such as grass and the browns are carbon-rich materials like wood chips. These materials dissolve over a period of months turning into Compost.
What happens when you can’t wait months for your materials to turn to compost or if you notice after waiting months that your compost pile hasn’t turned to compost? Then you use a compost accelerator also called a compost starter or a compost activator.
A compost accelerator contains ingredients that will help speed up the decomposition of your compost pile and give those beneficial microbes and bacteria a jump start leading to the breakdown of organic matter.
There are tons of different composting starters, activators, boosters, and accessories on the market so we’ve tried and compared them and these 7 products are the best ones if you’re looking for something that gets you a rich, nutrient-filled compost.
1) Biomaster Compost-It Compost Accelerator
Biomaster’s Compost Accelerator is one of the quickest on the market, promising to create nutrient-rich compost in under a month. It has a natural biological formula with over 60 active ingredients and no chemicals or poisons making it safe for the environment and okay for a compost bin with worms.
The high concentration of organic microbes breaks down the items in your compost pile into their most basic form which can then be used to improve your soil. It’s very easy to use and is suitable for a variety of composting methods including drums, piles, and bins.
Biomaster is a great option if you’re looking for something fast, easy to use, and 100% organic.
2) Jobe’s Organics Compost Starter – Top Pick
Jobe’s Organics is a well-known brand that’s been tried and tested and is well known for its consumer satisfaction. It’s also one of the cheapest but still effective compost starters on the market.
It contains Jobe’s Biozome which is a trademarked blend of bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, and archaea known to increase the quality and resistance of your soil to pests and diseases while fertilizing your plant. Other ingredients include bone meal, feather meal, potassium, and manure which are high in natural sources of Nitrogen, Calcium, and Phosphorus for the promotion of soil quality, plant health, and fruit production.
Jobe’s Starter is easy to use, contains no synthetic chemicals and you can start seeing results from about 3 weeks. It’s ideal for compost piles but can also be used in bins. The recommended usage is 2 cups per cubic yard every 4-6 weeks which is still cost-efficient compared to other brands.
3) Safer Brand Ringer 3050 Compost Plus
Safer Brand Ringer Compost Plus has all the necessary microorganisms and nutrients needed to start composting. This proprietary blend breaks down the items in your compost pile while containing a nutrient source for the microbes to flourish.
Within 90 days you can expect it to reduce your mixture of greens and browns into rich, nutrient-filled humus that can be used to fertilized and enhance your soil. It can be used to compost a wide variety of materials from leaves to pine cones.
The 2-pound bag converts up to 750 pounds of yard debris into compost which is an impressive amount. The manufacturer recommends not to use paper, meat, fat, or bone if you’re going to use the accelerator in your compost pile and to use this product in hotter weather as cold temperatures inactivate the microbes present in the product.
This product is efficient and a great cost for the amount of compost provided.
4) Dr. Earth 727 Premium Compost Starter
Dr. Earth 727 Premium Compost Starter is a 100% natural, organic and hand-crafted activator that can be used for any and all compost methods such as barrels, bins, and piles. It creates humus by speeding up the breakdown of the ingredients in your compost pile.
It contains the trademarked Trubiotic which consists of the 5 most beneficial microbes. These champion strain microbes lead to the thorough decomposition and release of nutrients in your compost pile. The presence of alfalfa meal and seaweed extract help to act as a fertilizer to your crops. It’s perfect for making compost tea; a well-balanced and nutrient-rich fertilizer that’s made by brewing compost in water and then sprayed on plants and crops.
With Dr. Earth, a little goes a long way into getting you that nutrient-rich soil.
5) Espoma Organic Traditions Compost Starter
Espoma Organic traditions compost starter is a one-of-a-kind compost starter containing billions of microorganisms ready to decompose your pile into a nutrient-rich fertile mix. It’s perfect to compost home materials such as kitchen waste, grass, or manure.
The high concentration of microbes also includes thermophilic varieties which increase the core temperature of your compost pile speeding up decomposition. Combined with a nutrient source for microbes and a pH adjuster, even usually difficult to compost organic matter is broken down.
The manufacture recommends layering the organic material and compost starter in turns, adding moisture, and then turning the pile once a week as this will reduce the humus production time to about 3 months.
With its high number of microbes and additives, it’s no surprise Espoma Organic traditions compost starter made our top 7 list.
6) Roebic Laboratories Bacterial Compost Accelerator
Roebic Laboratories Bacterial Compost Accelerator is a fully organic specialized blend of beneficial bacteria that allows for the breakdown of compost piles and boosts biological activity. It works on weeds, leaves, grass clippings, shrub trimmings, vegetable scraps, and peelings to make the composting process easier.
It also has a pH buffer that maintains the pH at the optimum level for maximum decomposition and it can be used in a varying range of temperatures. This means the microbes are constantly active and working and not inactivated by cold weather.
This formula is fast-acting and nutrient-rich containing high levels of magnesium, calcium, and nitrogen leading to a compost that’s perfect for boosting your soil.
7) SCD Probiotics All Seasons Bokashi – Compost Starter & Microbial Inoculant
Bokashi Composting is a super-easy way to compost if you have a lot of waste or trash at home. You can put anything in and that turns into a fertilizer that can be added to your compost pile. Read more about Bokashi Composting here.
SCD Probiotics Bokashi Composting Starter is a dry bran fermented with beneficial microbes that enables you to compost indoors with ease. It’s a low oxygen fermentation process that provides higher quality nutrients for your plants because it retains more food waste nutrients.
You can also add Bokashi powder directly to your soil to improve soil quality, disease resistance and promote plant growth. It is also a natural odor controller that can be used in kitty litter and composting toilets.
This Bokashi Compost Starter is a great option if you’re looking for an easy and cheap way to start indoor composting.
Making your own Compost Accelerator at Home
If for some reason you aren’t looking to buy a compost activator and you’d rather make them at home then we’ve got you covered. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy and the ingredients aren’t hard to get. To make your own compost accelerator, follow these instructions:
- Get a large 5-gallon bucket. Make sure the bucket is clean and has no harmful inorganic elements.
- Pour 2 gallons of warm water into the bucket. This provides a great environment for the growth of bacteria.
- Add 1 can of beer. The yeast in the beer helps to speed up decomposition.
- Pour one can of regular soda into the mixture. This provides the microbes with Carbon.
- Pour ½ a cup of ammonia into the mixture. This acts as a pH balancer and a source of Nitrogen.
- Mix it well.
- Pour it over the compost heap
- Shovel some soil around to mix the accelerator in the soil to evenly distribute the mixture
And that’s it. Easy as pie.
Compost starters aren’t always necessary and composting usually occurs naturally. However, it’s understandable if you can’t wait around for it to happen as the timeline is usually somewhere between 3 months to 3 years. So, if you’re looking to speed up the process, then any of those listed above can be used with great results.