How to Start a Compost Pile


Those who are interested in green living may be interested in starting a compost pile. Composting, or the process of recycling organic materials into a nutrient-rich soil, has distinct advantages. Not only does composting help you reduce the amount of waste you personally add to your local landfills, but a successful compost pile can also make your garden healthier. Starting a compost pile is a very easy task.

What You Need to Start a Compost Pile

Before you start setting up your compost pile, you will need to pick out the perfect site. The area should have adequate drainage and be somewhat protected against freezing winds during the winter. If you intent to compost your kitchen scraps, it is recommended that you put your compost pile somewhere that is easily accessed and near the back door. If you have neighbors who live nearby, you may also want to find a spot that is discrete and will not allow those nearby to smell the compost.

It is easiest to start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows earth worms and other organisms to access your composting materials. It is recommended that your composting site be about 3 feet long by 3 feet wide. You will want to lay down a layer or straw or twigs. This helps aerate your compost pile and allows water to drain out. If you prefer, you can utilize a composting bin instead of creating an open-air pile.

When you add your first round of composting materials, make sure to alternate between wet and dry compost. Food scraps are considered to be wet materials while wood ashes, sawdust pellets and leaves are dry materials. Cover the pile with a tarp to keep just the right amount of moisture in. If you are using a bin, make sure to keep the top on. Every few weeks, the compost should be turned with a shovel or pitchfork. This adds oxygen into the pile. Adding manure can speed up the process as it contains organisms and nitrogen sources.

Once the compost pile has been established, you can mix in new materials. The compost must be turned in order to keep the compost progressing into nutrient-rich soil.

Composting in an Apartment

While composting is much easier if you have a large backyard, you can compost if you live in an apartment or in a home that does not have much outdoor space. As long as you make sure to manage your compost pile properly, you can even prevent weird smells and pests.

You can either purchase a pre-made worm bin or cut holes along the bottom and top of a plastic bin. An additional lid should be placed underneath the bin for water drainage. Soak shredded newspapers in water and wring them out. Put half of the soaked newspaper in a crisscross pattern along the bottom. Add your worms and some soil. Once they have burrowed into the soil, you can add your food scraps and the rest of the newspaper.

The bin should be placed in a cool spot that does not experience a lot of sunshine. Continue to add your organic kitchen scraps to the compost bin until the majority of the scraps have turned to soil. The bin will then need to sit until it has fully composted. Once your compost is ready, you can use it to increase the health of your indoor plants.

Enjoy a Greener Life

While you cannot compost everything, you can reduce the amount of waste you produce. In fact, you can even use your compost pile to help you get started down a path of greener living.


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