Many gardeners make compost in a compost bin. Making compost does not have to involve a compost bin to hold the compost materials, however. Find a location that is convenient to your gardens and build a simple compost pile. Make the compost pile out of materials such as dried leaves and cow manure. By adding water and stirring your compost pile, you will soon have rich, dark compost suitable for any gardening need.
Spread a plastic tarp on the soil where you will build the compost pile. The tarp will prevent roots and plants from leeching nutrients away from the bottom of the pile.
Place a layer of brown materials (dry leaves, pine needles or sawdust) over the plastic tarp to create the first layer. Make this layer between 5 and 7 inches high. Saturate this layer with water.
Place a layer of cow manure over the brown materials. Make this layer between 2 and 4 inches high. Saturate this layer with water.
Stir the layers together with the garden spade. Add another layer of brown materials and another layer of cow manure, saturating each layer with water as you add them. Make the compost pile as high as you desire by continuing to add alternating layers of brown materials and cow manure.
Cover the compost pile with a second tarp to protect the pile from rain and snow. Let the compost pile sit for three days and then remove the tarp to stir the materials. Cover the pile again and allow it to sit for three more days. Stir again and then wait for an additional three days. Stir one final time to finish the heating stage of the compost-making process.
Allow the compost pile to sit undisturbed under the tarp for at least two months. Check the compost after two months to assess the materials. The materials are ready to apply to the soil when they are crumbly, dark colored and smell earthy.