Tag Archives: how to build a compost pile

Home is Where the Cover Material Is

I envy the cover material at this place!

Leaves, pine needles (don’t need a lot), dead grass, etc…

I was asked to build up a fresh pile, so I added a good 12″ of base material, then added the food scraps followed by another 6″ of cover materials.

While I doubt it will start up since it’s 20 degrees out, as soon as it’s ready it’ll take off.  In the meantime, there’s a few months’ room for weekly contributions until the temperature stays above freezing for a few days.

I’m sure we’ll get our January burst of 70 degree weather for a day out of nowhere, anyway…

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Easy Low Cost Composting with Free Coffee Grounds and Wood Chips

Easy Low Cost Composting with Free Coffee Grounds and Wood Chips Alberta Urban Garden

Great video, but I have a few concerns: He mentions not adding meat to the compost pile… just add it.

Meat and dairy products are absolutely compostable, and although he mentions needing a hot pile to do so, interesting enough those very items heavily contribute to creating heat within a compost pile!

As long as you have at least double the amount of brown materials as you do food scraps/meat/dairy products, you’ll be fine.

This dude has plenty of energy and a large pile able to handle any meat he may have.

Also- I’ve never seen someone add so much dirt to a compost pile… while there’s nothing wrong with adding dirt, I don’t see quite enough brown materials here.

Instead of all the dirt, his pile would benefit even more from covering the entire pile with brown materials.

Compost for Spring: Leaves, Used Coffee Grounds, & Garden Waste (Leaf Compost)

Compost for Spring: Leaves, Used Coffee Grounds, & Garden Waste (Leaf Compost)

This time around, coffee grounds and sunchoke stalks are the main ingredients paired with leaves.

Since timing isn’t critical for obtaining finished compost, the leaves are unshredded.

Leaves are one of the few ingredients that compost on their own, so whether they’re shredded or not doesn’t matter…you’ll just get much quicker results by shredding them.

I like the hoop house idea for keeping the heat in and the worms warm…great video, Patrick!

Turning The Fall/Winter Compost & the Worms are Alright!

Turning The Fall/Winter Compost & the Worms are Alright!

In this later part of the video series, he gets the Geobin to start his next round of composting.

I really liked his homemade bin, so I was surprised he shelled out some cash to get a bin.

He mentioned wanting something portable, durable, mobile, and able to hold material easier.

I think it should live up to that quite well.

He also gets excited about red wigglers, which are always a nice surprise with large compost piles.

Although he had winter temperatures well below zero, he still had red wigglers survive… resilient creatures they are!


How to Deposit Materials in your Compost Bin

Recently I put together a second compost pile in my backyard, and I took a few quick photos as I started adding material.

I want your pile to work the best it can while not giving off any odors or attracting local pests.  These two concerns are super easy to prevent- all you need to do is add a layer of browns over each and every food scrap deposit, and make sure you have two to three times as much brown material as food scraps.


3-layer of final browns1.) Start your new pile with browns first.  I added straw first to act as a sponge for any excess moisture, then my first deposit of shredded leaves.  This totals a little over 6″, but I would have added more material if I had it.

To be sure, your compost pile will barely leach any liquid if at all.  Compost piles crave moisture as they need it to work…it’s really hard to over-saturate.  Use a watering can to dampen the pile.

2-layer of food2.) Add your food scraps.  For a large compost bin with at least 3’x3’x3′ in capacity, be sure to add ALL food.  All food composts just fine…the reason you will often hear that certain items “don’t” compost is that the composting system being used does not achieve hot composting temperatures so the material sits there.  This is mostly due to lack of capacity which is a key factor to spark a thermophilic reaction.

For fun, I threw in some chinese take-out containers.  It’s quite possible that they have a thin plastic lining, although I’m not totally sure.  I personally don’t care about having to pick out some remnants of plastic at the end of the composting process.  Maybe if I was growing veggies I would; but since I’m not, I’m happy to experiment and screen the finished product…I do it anyway.


1-layer of browns3.) Lastly, add another layer of shredded brown materials and dampen it with water.  That’s it.  Go back and forth.  Always cap off your pile with a layer of browns, NOT food scraps.  Leaving food scraps sitting on the top uncovered will result in odor and/or pests.

At the end of each week, I empty my kitchen food scrap collector into my compost pile and then cover the deposit with a quick layer of shredded leaves.  That’s all there is to it.

Any questions?

finished pile contents

Composting with Grass Clippings

Composting with Grass Clippings

This video is great for its simplicity and the fact that it really works like this.

Pile stuff up, get it wet and that’s it.

I like that there’s no bin or tumbler being used- just a heap in the yard will do it.

I don’t have any grass, but this makes me want to go get some nearby just to add some more diversity to my piles.