Jan 142010
 

Basic compost, or "cold" compost, decomposes in 1 to 2 years.

Deposit grass clippings, leaves and prunings onto a single spot, creating a heap of yard debris. Voila! You have a cold compost pile!

Building a “Slow” or “Cold” Compost Pile

Building a compost pile is really quite simple.  Deposit grass clippings, leaves and prunings onto a single spot, creating a heap of yard debris.  Voila! You have a cold compost pile!  It’s that easy.  After you build it, there’s little additional work.  A cold pile may occasionally develop a foul odor, but you can cure that by turning the pile to introduce fresh air.

Your heap of lawn debris will decompose (i.e., rot) in about 1 to 2 years.  When the pile resembles crumbly soil with a rich smell, it’s ready for use.  Spread it on your lawn or incorporate it into your garden soil.

Fast Compost Alternative

If you are willing to put some effort into it, you can build a hot compost pile that will decompose much faster than a cold compost pile.  If you really work at it, you may get usable compost in as little as 8 weeks rather than waiting 1 to 2 years.

Though you may not always want to follow every step in the process of building a hot pile, I encourage you to do so at least once. The hot pile process is worth learning.  Every step of the hot pile process speeds decomposition.  That means that when you build a cold pile, you can produce finished compost faster by incorporating any of the hot pile steps.  The more hot pile steps you follow, the faster you will have finished compost!

Mary Tynes, Master Composter, www.mastercomposter.com

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/423508812/

  11 Responses to “How to Build a Basic Compost Pile”

  1. RT @composting: Earth Day is EVERY day in your own backyard — How To Build a Basic Compost Pile http://ow.ly/1BvJT

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  3. […] of a separate composting bin.  Throw slow-to-compost items into the slow-compost bin to create a cold compost pile.  (I have a separate bin for twigs and small branches so I always have old, dry kindling materials […]

  4. […] and vegetable scraps, grains, etc., will compost in a home pile and some people strongly recommend this, even for beginners.  I do […]

  5. You can really speed it up if you get a electric leaf shredder or your lawnmower with a bag and then some greeen grass clippings and some water.I pile mine up like a pryamid and then put some finished compost on the top,water and then wait.You’ll know what its ready.

  6. […] down your food waste relatively quickly. Instead of the months it can take with the basic cold composting method, hot composting can break down organic matter in just a few […]

  7. […] of a separate composting bin.  Throw slow-to-compost items into the slow-compost bin to create a cold compost pile.  (I have a separate bin for twigs and small branches so I always have old, dry kindling materials […]

  8. […] is included among your planned Earth Day activities, just remember it implies the necessity for a compost pile or bin. If you don’t already have one, it would seem the ideal day (with a little salty […]

  9. […] and vegetable scraps, grains, etc., will compost in a home pile and some people strongly recommend this, even for beginners.  I do […]

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