Questions? Write Me at

Questions? Write me at fullcirclegardener @ cableone . net.

Composting 101: The "Pile"

In my introduction to composting I told you that I would cover some of the basics of starting a compost pile, then I shared that the easiest way to compost is to get it from someone else.  If you are not able to find compost that you trust from someone else, then it is time to start your own.  The first step in creating a compost pile is selecting a site and the second is deciding how simple you want the pile to be...

Even something as simple as composting kitchen scraps and/or lawn clippings takes some effort and input by you; therefore it is in your best interest to make it as simple and easy as possible to integrate into your everyday life!  This means you will want to consider carefully where you establish your compost pile.  Fortunately a compost pile is basically odorless if properly maintained, but it is not considered to be a beautiful sight by most individuals, so you will want it to be not too obvious in your yard-scape.  That being said, the more easily accessible it is for both putting material in and maintaining it, the more likely you are to use it!   Also, a compost pile exposed to sunlight heats up and matures faster if you are looking for a quicker turn around.

In its simplest form, a compost pile is just that, a loose and uncontained pile.  If you expect to have much input into your pile or wild critters (raccoons, skunk, deer, turkey,... I've heard of these & others) you may want to consider containing your pile in some manner.  Whatever type of containment you choose, make sure that it allows for some air movement through the pile; a key to decomposition & compost creation.  If your main reason for containment is controlling the abundance in your pile, then a 3-sided structure 3-4 ft cube from landscaping timbers/blocks or encircling the pile with some sturdy wire/fencing (a 9ft length will make a 3ft diameter pile) would be sufficient.  If you are concerned about critters then you may want to consider purchasing a commercially made 'composter' that secures to the ground and has a locking lid.  These composters are also somewhat less "unsightly" if that is a concern for you.  I was able to purchase an Earth Machine composter from the city a few years ago.  I would definetely contact your local waste management offices to see if they offer a deal on a composter as well!

 For more information on building a compost structure see:
NDSU Extension Bulletin H885: Composting Practices

Next week I'll share with you what you can put into your compost pile.  I think you will be surprise at what you can put into your pile. :)

Happy Composting & Gardening! :)

All Posts in the Composting 101 Series:
-Check Local Waste Management
-The 'Pile'
-My 'Piles'
-Compostable Material

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