Getting the right amount of water into your compost pile is vital for ensuring that it retains all of its essential nutrients.
The ideal moisture level for compost is an overall moisture content of around 40-60%; although you don’t have to be concerned too much with exact facts and figures as there is a simple way to test if your compost has the optimum level of moisture.
A simple trick known as the hand squeeze test is an accurate way to gauge if your compost has a good level of moisture and it really is as simple as it sounds to perform this test.
Once you have evenly distributed water to your compost, select a random section and grab a good size handful. Next, squeeze the handful to see how much moisture is released. If a lot of water drips out of your hand as you squeeze then you have overwatered your compost. This can be rectified by drying out your compost, adding dry materials such as straw and sawdust. You can also amend overwatering by increasing the amount of air that ventilates to your pile by turning the pile more frequently or by increasing direct airflow.
Conversely, if you squeeze a handful of your compost and it falls apart, it is lacking moisture. The simple solution to this outcome is to add more water. This is easier and cheaper than adding dry materials so bear this in mind when watering and remember that it is better to have too little moisture than too much.
You should be aiming for your compost to stick together in a clump in your hand and for your hand to feel slightly damp but to not be dripping. When you achieve this you then know that you have a near enough perfect amount of moisture in your compost.
In garden composting you can maintain moisture levels by using a small hose or watering can, whereas for industrial level composting you should look to use a permanent irrigation system.
If you are looking for compost to buy online be sure to pick the best multi purpose compost from a trusted compost supplier such as The Compost Shop. Give your compost the love it deserves and soon you could be growing better than ever!