How to Start a Compost Pile


Composting has caught on as the best way to reduce household wastes while returning vital nutrients to the soil. Modern composting takes many forms, from garbage can tumblers and boxes made of old wooden skids to worm farms that quickly eat through kitchen scraps. But the traditional compost pile is still a popular form of turning kitchen scraps into black gold for your garden.

Step 1

Collect kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps in a coffee can that you keep in your refrigerator.

Step 2

Transfer the contents of the coffee can when full into to a gallon freezer bag. Freeze scraps until it is time to build your compost pile.

Step 3

Collect grass clippings in a collection bag when you mow.

Step 4

Rake up fallen leaves and chop them into mulch by running the lawn mower over them. Store in lawn bags until ready to compost.

Step 5

Begin your pile with a layer of brown material, which includes straw, hay and chopped leaves.

Step 6

Place a layer of green material, which includes kitchen scraps, peat moss and grass clippings, over the brown layer.

Step 7

Place successive layers of browns and greens over each other. Make each layer smaller in diameter so that your compost pile mounds.

Step 8

Wet down the pile with a garden hose to promote decomposition. The consistency of your compost pile should be similar to that of a saturated sponge.

Things You'll Need

  • Gallon freezer bags
  • Coffee container with lid
  • Mulching lawn mower
  • Rake
  • Lawn bags
  • Lawn mower with bag
  • Peat moss
  • Straw or hay
  • Garden hose


  • How to
  • How to Start a Compost Pile
  • Building your Compost Pile

Who Can Help

  • Compost Made Easy
Keywords: make compost, kitchen scraps, garden soil

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.