Commercially sold mulch is often made of pine needles, bark or cedar wood shavings. Although this mulch makes an attractive ground cover in beds and along pathways, the wood is also a good, carbon-filled ingredient for your compost pile. Compost piles need a good ratio of "browns" (carbon material) to "greens" (nitrogen-laden material) in order to break down quickly. The best ratio of brown material to green material is 1 part green matter to 6 parts brown organic substances. Because mulch is already in small pieces, it will decompose quickly.
Select commercial mulch that has already been chopped or shredded into 1-inch pieces. Spread commercial pine needle mulch across the ground and mow it to further chop the needles into smaller particles.
Pile commercial mulch onto the site of your compost pile to a depth of 12 inches.
Cut vegetable scraps into 1-inch pieces with kitchen shears.
Layer vegetable scraps, peat moss and lawn clippings to a depth of 2 inches on compost pile.
Continue to pile alternating layers of mulch and vegetable scraps, peat moss and grass clippings into your pile until it reaches the desired height.
Wet the compost pile until it is barely damp to the touch.
Stir your compost pile with a garden pitchfork every 2 weeks.
Repeat steps 6 and 7 until the pile is completely decomposed. The pile will shrink to ¼ it's original size and resemble black, crumbly soil when it is finished.