Compost activator, also known as compost inoculate, is a mixture of micro-organisms and nutrients that are added to a compost pile to speed up the breakdown of fruit and vegetable scraps. Compost piles take a while to decompose naturally, which can draw fruit flies and odors to your pile. There are also herbal and all-natural activators.
An activator may be needed for several reasons. The primary reason is usually that the compost heat may have too many high-carbon materials, such as dried leaves, and not enough nitrogen-containing materials, which are the greens. It may also be needed if the weather is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius), as heat is the primary activator in the composting process. The final reason may be that the person composting is a beginner and is insecure about the time necessary to compost.
Herbal activators are the most widely used, as they are quick and efficient. Herbal activators work with radiation to compost the pile into a sweet smelling heap, due to the ingredient mixture. Quick Return Organic Compost Activator is a widely used pre-made herbal accelerator.
An herbal compost activator usually contains a mixture of the following seven ingredients: yarrow, chamomile, dandelion, oak bark, valerian, nettle and honey. These are in powder form, and are dropped into the bottle twenty-four hours before use. Holes are dug into the heap and the activator is poured in so that it soaks to the bottom. The holes are then filled back up with dirt. Depending upon what time of the year it is, the pile is evenly composted in four to twelve weeks.
All natural compost activators are added to the compost pile to kick-start the process. They provide a nitrogen-protein source that feeds the community of micro-organisms. Some common compost activated materials are comfrey leaves, young weeds, well-rotted chicken manure and grass clippings. These are usually added in layers on top of the recently added fruit and vegetable scraps.
Other natural compost activators that aren't as widely available include meals of alfalfa, blood, bone, cottonseed, fish, hoof, and horn. Natural activators don't just work to speed up the composting process. They also add nutrients, such as potassium, to the soil that will benefit flowers, vegetables and fruit trees.
The most natural form of compost activator is human urine. It is very high in nitrogen and is crammed full of minerals and vitamins. Although many people are concerned about urinating in their yard, it is a very sterile liquid and it is being put to good use.