How to Make Hot Compost

Overview

Composting creates mineral-rich soil, which makes a great foundation for plants and can also be used as fertilizer. According to Washington State University, regular slow composting can sometimes result in weed seeds and disease organisms can exist in the soil. Hot compost, which takes more effort and time, reaches temperatures high enough to kill weed seeds and disease. Once you've collected your hot compost you will have a reliable source of nutrients and sustenance for your vegetables, flowers or other plant life.

Step 1

Dig a hole several feet across and several feet wide. Adjust the size of the hole depending on how big you want your compost pile to be, based on the size of your garden and soil needed.

Step 2

Line the hole with cardboard. This will allow the temperature to stay high.

Step 3

Start a compost pile with both soft and hard materials. Use rotted or partially eaten food, coffee grounds (with filters that aren't chemically colored), leaves, lawn clippings, hay, etc. According to Washington State University, you need to cut up larger materials so they will break down more quickly.

Step 4

Add water at the beginning and whenever needed. To check the moisture, take some of the compost into your hand and squeeze it to see how much water exists in the mixture. You should barely be able to get a drop of water out of it.

Step 5

Add compost material and water whenever needed. Mix the pile whenever you add more food or yard waste items. Mix the pile at least once a week even if you haven't added anything new.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost material (food waste, hay, leaves, etc.)
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic sheeting or a tarp
  • Pitchfork or shovel

References

  • Washington State University: Backyard Composting
  • Plant Green: How to Make Hot Compost
Keywords: how to compost, making compost, about composting, hot heat temperature

About this Author

Mark Rhyman has been working as a freelance writer since 2005. His work has appeared in numerous online and print publications, such as "Kotori" magazine and "Inside Lacrosse." He has his bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in creative writing from the State University of New York at Brockport.