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Compost isn't fully "done": can I use it anyway?

 
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I'm using a composting tumbler.

I add 2:1 brown to green material every couple days, add a bit of water, and give the tumbler several turns.

It's taking forever for the cardboard I use for brown material to decompose.

However, the whole thing seems to heat up nicely, and it smells great: not like rot, but earthy and healthy.

There are lumps of what looks like cured compost in there. Can I go ahead and use those?

Getting impatient!
 
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Amy,

I would go ahead and use whatever was finished.  If you want to pull cardboard pieces out, then by all means do so.  Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good enough.

On a related note, I build my compost piles right in the garden bed and I don’t care if it finishes or not.  Just by being in contact with the ground, the pile makes the soil beneath much more fertile.  What decomposes decomposes and I either scatter the rest or I use it to start a new pile.

So in the end, I would say go ahead and use what you have.

Good Luck!

Eric
 
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