Helpful for accessing the materials at the bottom of a compost pile.
A sharp, pointed edge that can break down large, thick materials, such as stalks and vines. You can also use it to turn the pile or harvest compost.
One of the best tools for hand-turning a compost pile.
Used as an airshaft that can push in and then pull out soil from the pile, which will allow air to enter. This will stimulate decomposition and reduce the amount of manual turning necessary. A typical aerating tool costs $20 to $60.
Pruning Shears and Loppers
As a low-tech alternative to a shredder or chipper, shears or loppers can be used to chop twigs, small branches and other tough materials into smaller pieces, which will break down faster.
Shredders and Chippers
A more expensive, high tech alternative to shears or loppers, shredders and chippers will break yard waste down into smaller pieces that will decompose much more quickly in a compost pile. They can cost anywhere from $150 to over $1000, so usually larger operations will invest in such equipment.
Watering Can and Hose
A pile breaks down the fastest when it is as moist as a wrung out sponge. In times of drought or hot weather, add water to the compost pile until it contains about 50-60% moisture by volume.
A screen will remove large clumps, debris, and stubborn materials that haven’t broken down. This is important if you’re using the compost as a component of potting soil or to top dress the lawn. You can make your own with hardware cloth, or you can buy a screener.
Cuts grass or leaves into small pieces, which can be left on the lawn, as mulch, or composted. These cost around $150 to $700.
A handheld tool that you can use to chop compost up into smaller pieces can be helpful in your garden ventures. Breaking down material into small pieces aids the decomposing process.
Less important in cold composting, a compost thermometer is helpful for monitoring the temperature of your pile. For a hot compost pile, it’s important to know when the temperature dips so you can turn the pile and rejuvenate thermophilic activity. For weed seeds and pathogen killing, the pile must be at least 131 degrees F for 72 hours, so a thermometer is key for monitoring this process. A compost thermometer typically costs between $25 and $250.