How to Make Your Own Compost Pile

Overview

A compost pile is a heap of kitchen and garden scrap kept moist and turned frequently until it decomposes to become a rich organic matter sprinkled over garden and container soil. Composting also reduces the amount of household waste that ends up in landfills. Due to the recent trend of living green, more and more homeowners are making compost piles in their backyards. Composting is beneficial to homeowners, the soil and the environment.

Step 1

Select an area in your backyard or garden that is shady and has good drainage. Ideally, it should be at a corner of your yard so the odor cannot rise and drift indoors. Also, make sure there is a water source nearby so you can keep it evenly moist at all times.

Step 2

Measure a 3-by-3 foot area and demarcate it with spray paint, a layer of bricks or powdered chalk. This is where you will make your compost pile. Depending on the scale of your operation, you can increase the size of the cubic square up to a maximum of 5 feet. Any bigger and your pile will be difficult to aerate, drain and eventually decompose.

Step 3

Search for "green" and "brown" waste around your kitchen and garden and add them in two separate bins, containers or plastic buckets. Greens are high in nitrogen and include leaf and grass clippings, kitchen waste and manure, while browns are high in carbon and include branch and twigs, untreated sawdust, coffee filters, shredded brown paper bags, cardboard, peat moss and eggshells.

Step 4

Add a 4- to 6-inch-thick layer of brown waste at the designated spot. Lay the bulkier material first, followed by smaller pieces over it. Add a layer of green waste over the browns, ensuring that too is 4 to 6 inches thick. Stop adding material when your pile is 3 feet high.

Step 5

Wet the contents of the pile gently with a garden hose at medium setting. Do not douse it with water, but ensure the pile is sufficiently moist.

Step 6

Mix the pile with a pitchfork so the contents are aerated and blend well. Turn the pile once every two to three days so the dry contents at the edges mix in the middle.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not compost chemically treated grass clippings, nappies, pet manure, meat, dairy, or ash.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Bricks or spray paint
  • Gloves
  • Kitchen and yard scrap
  • Two buckets
  • Garden hose
  • Pitchfork

References

  • Create Your Own Compost Pile
  • Building Your Compost Pile
  • How to Make Compost
Keywords: compost pile, backyard composting, diy compost pile

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.