How long does it take for a corn cob to decompose?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long does it take for a corn cob to decompose?”, discuss answers to other related questions like can corn cobs go in the compost, and when is the compost ready to use.

How long does it take for a corn cob to decompose?

In the landfill, it takes about 18 years for a corn cob to decompose. While in the compost bin, only 2 months are required for a corn cob to break down. 

The change in the duration in the breakdown of corn cob by these processes is because of the difference in the gases. The landfill gas is comprised of roughly 50% carbon dioxide and 50% methane. In the landfill, methane is developed due to the anaerobic decomposition of the corn cob. Whereas, a compost pile decomposes aerobically and produces carbon dioxide.

The use of compost bins adds nutrients to soil or groundwater, saves space in landfills, and decreases the amount of trash that you put out on the curb. So, decomposing corn cob by using compost bins is an environmentally friendly idea in all ways, and it is better to produce carbon dioxide than methane because carbon is going to decay anyway.

Can you compost corn cobs? 

Yes, you can totally compost corn cobs. They add good nutritional value to the soil or plants. Unlike corn husks, they take a longer time to decompose. However, they are environment friendly and serve other purposes as well before they are eventually decomposed to become a useful part of the soil.

How do composting works?

To understand the process of composting, you need to observe the natural process of decomposition that is found in nature. For example, the forests and woody areas are filled with organic materials such as trees and leaves. With time, microorganisms and earthworms slowly breakdown or decompose these organic materials. Once these materials have been decomposed, a humus is formed. Humus is an essential element in the production of rich, fertile soil responsible for producing healthy plants. 

Composting is somewhat similar to this natural process of decomposition. Compost is made up of organic materials that breakdown into the soil and enriches the structure of soil by adding essential nutrients to the soil. Once decomposition has taken place in the compost pile, the result should be similar to that of humus with a dark, crumbly, soil-like material.

Other FAQs about Corn which you may be interested in.

How to tell when corn is done boiling?

How to store cooked corn on the cob?

How to know when corn is done?

How to compost corn plants?

You can use an open compost pile or you can build a frame to keep the contents closed to compost the corn cobs and husks, as well as the other parts of the corn plant.

Ratio recipe

A ratio recipe is important to avoid your compost pile getting soggy. Keep the ratio of brown to green ingredients as 4:1 because if your compost pile gets soggy, it can cause an unpleasant odor. Brown ingredients include dried plant parts while green ingredients refer to the still-moist and freshly cut or shucked parts. So keep in mind that whenever you are going to compost the corn cobs and husks, the greener the ingredients you add, the more moisture they will contribute. Ideally, the moisture content of your compost pile should be 40%.

Size of materials

The size of materials is also important to be considered when you are going to compost something. To make it more simple, you can say that the larger the pieces, the longer it takes them to decompose in compost. So when you are going to compost corn cobs, cut them into smaller pieces to make them decompose more rapidly. For composting corn husks, you can shred them into smaller pieces by harvesting over them.

Turning the pile

Turning the compost pile helps you to assure proper aeration by moving the air inside the pile and fasten the process of decomposition. You can use a spading fork or shovel to lift and turn the compost at least once a month.

When is the compost ready to use?

Compost is ready to use when it gets dark brown and crumbly with no foul odor. Once it is ready, there should be no recognizable pieces of organic matter.

Composting corn cobs takes a relatively longer time than composting other parts of the corn plant. So you may notice some bits of cobs left after the decomposition of the organic matter. You can remove these cobs to use the finished compost.

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long does it take for a corn cob to decompose?”, discussed answers to other related questions like can corb cobs go in the compost, and when is the compost ready to use.

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.