How to Create Compost Piles

Overview

A compost pile is an essential part of every garden because it converts kitchen, garden and yard scrap into a rich, organic soil conditioner packed with essential nutrients. Compost helps clay soil drain better and sandy soil retain water to promote healthy plants and flowers. Composting also reduces the amount of household waste that ends up in landfills. Whether you opt for a simple compost pile in a shaded corner of your backyard or a tumbling compost bin, the end result is a dark organic matter that is essential for quality soil.

Step 1

Select a dry and shaded area in your yard or garden that is near a water source yet out of sight. Compost piles can attract flies, so make sure the site is not too close to your house. Demarcate it by making a square with bricks on the ground that is 3 feet wide and equally long. Leave a path of several feet and make another square for a second pile.

Step 2

Wear your gloves and search for garden and kitchen waste to compost. Collect the waste in two buckets. Alternate layers of green and brown waste in the compost pile. Green waste provides nitrogen and includes grass clippings, leaf clippings, food scraps, and manure. Brown waste provides carbon and includes coffee filters, branches, twigs or pieces of scrap wood, shredded brown paper bags, and eggshells. Too many greens could cause your compost piles to emit a bad odor.

Step 3

Add a layer of green material inside the brick bed with a pitchfork and top it off with two layers of brown material. Continue this process of mixing one part green waste to two parts brown until your pile is 3 feet high. Once the first pile is complete, start piling the second one with waste, aiming at making each one 3 cubic feet, since this size heats up quickly and decomposes soon.

Step 4

Wet the contents of each pile with a garden hose to provide the necessary moisture to begin the process of decomposition. Avoid over-watering the pile as it could lower temperatures and create a foul odor. Aim to make the pile evenly moist. Adding hay to an over-watered pile will assist in absorbing excess water.

Step 5

Cover the pile with a tarp to retain moisture and prevent the contents from going dry, which could slow the decomposition process.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not compost dairy products, fats or oils, pet waste and meat.

Things You'll Need

  • Bricks
  • Kitchen and garden scrap
  • Gloves
  • Two buckets
  • Pitchfork
  • Garden hose
  • Tarp
  • Rake

References

  • how to Make Compost Piles
Keywords: compost pile, compost piles, backyard compost heap

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.