I use a compost tumbler and often times I end up with a lot of fruit pits including avocado pits. I usually sift these out and leave them in a compost pile (which is enclosed by chicken wire) along with small twigs.

What can I do to speed up the decomposition of this pile?

I was even considering a wood chipper that could handle fruit pits and the like if I can find one under $250, but that doesn't seem to exist.

  • How many are 'lots'? If it's not too many, maybe you can collect them and smash them, so they break down more easily, and at least they won't germinate. – GolezTrol Aug 9 '15 at 15:02
  • It's about 30 cubic ft. I've been collecting them for about a year. I've though about smashing them with a hammer but that's not practical. – daniellopez46 Aug 9 '15 at 16:20

Just bury them in the garden (not where you are growing root vegetables unless you go deep with them.) Won't speed it up, but no real need for speed if they are out of the way.

Alternatively, add fresh hot manure (chicken is particularly good) to your "pile of pits and twigs" - I've pretty much traded in bothering with a brush chipper for branches for piling the branches and dumping relatively fresh horse manure on top of the pile to speed it along (just branches decay much more slowly - the manure maintains a moist environment and provides nitrogen to balance out the carbon of the wood.)

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  • Great suggestions! Does it have to be fresh? I don't live close to where I can get fresh compost. Burying deep in a certain part of the garden is a good option. – daniellopez46 Aug 9 '15 at 16:26
  • I meant fresh manure. – daniellopez46 Aug 9 '15 at 16:28

Adding extra nitrogen should do the trick. Nitrogen is needed for wood decomposition. I suppose the same is true for pits. You could buy some urea for the purpose. It helps to decompose animal carcasses, quickly, too, I've read.

Manure, as Ecnerwal mentioned, should help (because it's high in nitrogen and microbes).

Urine has a lot of nitrogen in it, too. Although it's not sterile, as some say, it does have far fewer microbes than feces. I wouldn't use it on low-growing plants where it might get on the leaves or something.

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  • Will my dog has been marking the pile so perhaps that's helping. – daniellopez46 Aug 9 '15 at 16:31

Large pits like avocado or from stone fruits like peaches take a long time to compost down - these seeds are quite capable of bobbing along on the ocean till they make landfall even two years later.

I wouldn't recommend burying them, its likely you'll finish up with volunteer trees from some of them. Soaking them in boiling water should help to start the process though, leaving them to soak even after the water has cooled, so you could do that first before chucking on the compost, but they'll probably still take a couple of years to degrade down. See link below:


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  • Thanks for the link. Never thought about using boiling water but having been regularly watering the pile and where I live weather has been in the 90s. – daniellopez46 Aug 9 '15 at 16:34

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