Composting Techniques - The Compost Pile

Compost Pile

About Compost Piles or Compost Heaps

The Compost piles, or “Compost Heaps” have been around for hundreds of years.  They aren’t pretty, and they sure are slow. But, they don’t cost anything either. And, it does the job. As a result, many gardeners use composting piles.

A Compost Pile is a very simple, passive gardening technique. Simply designate a small area of your garden or yard, as a place where you will pile up compostable materials into a heap. Then, let Mother Nature and her friends perform the decomposition process over a long period of time.

Without a doubt, this method of composting requires the least amount of effort on your part, too. On the downside, materials take the longest time to decompose of any composting technique. The pile can also attract rodents and animal pests.

A passive compost heap can take six months to two years, for the materials to completely decompose. However, frequently turning the pile with a pitchfork will speed u the process. 

How to Make a Compost Pile... It's a Cinch!

  • Designate an area for your compost heap.
  • Then, add materials to the pile as they become available. When grass clippings are available, pile them on. When fall leaves are gathered, add them to the top of the pile.
  • If you do nothing more than the two steps above, the materials will decompose over a (long) period.
  • Finally, when the pile finally decomposes, take the material for use in your garden projects.
  • The material at the bottom and the center will finish first. If you need compost, dig out the finished compost, and rake the remainder back into a pile.

How to Speed Up Decomposition of a Compost Pile

  • Alternate adding greens and browns.

  • Turn and mix the pile from time to time.

  • Keep the materials moist.

  • Add earthworms or red worms to the pile

Compost Pile Tip: As you pile it on, your compost heap usually takes on the shape of an inverted “V”. Rainwater runs right off it and does not soak and penetrate through the compost materials. As you build the pile, form it into the shape of a volcano, with a crater at the top. This will help to collect rainwater, directing it to the center core of the pile.

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