how to start a compost pile

So, you’ve decided its time to start composting? Great! You will not regret this decision. Once you know what to do, it really is easy and rewarding. Make sure you read our post on How to Compost for some basic information. Today we want to talk about how to start a compost pile. Yes, it is more that just dumping kitchen and yard scraps into a pile, but it isn’t complicated.

In order to reap the best compost in the least amount of time, it is important to know the basics. Follow these easy steps and you’ll have nutrient rich compost before you know it.

1. Have the Right Container

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Many seasoned composters will simply keep their compost in a pile somewhere near their garden. If you are just starting out, you might want to invest in a compost bin. When we first started composted, we bought a bin similar to this from Sam’s Club. You can find a variety of compost bins on Amazon as well. Pick a bin that will fit well in you space you have.

2. Start Your Pile

When you first start your compost pile, you’ll want to make sure you have a good balance of browns (leaves, sawdust, newspaper, etc) and greens (coffee grounds, kitchen scraps, grass clippings, etc). You’ll want to start your pile by layering a fairly equal amount of browns and greens. Once you have added your initial items, spray your pile lightly with water. You don’t want to saturate your pile, you only want it as wet as a wrung out sponge.

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The smaller the items are that you add to your compost, the faster it will decompose (and turn into your nutrient rich soil). Adding healthy soil (not potting soil) can also aid decomposition. If you don’t think you have good soil to add, you might want to buy some compost starter. Adding a little compost starter or nutrient rich soil to your compost is not necessary, but it will help speed things along.

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3. Maintaining Your Compost Pile

Once you’ve learned how to start a compost pile, you’ll want to learn how to maintain it. After you have starter with your initial layer of browns and greens, simply add your browns and greens when they are available. If you noticed you’ve added a lot of kitchen waste (greens) lately, try to find some browns (shredded newspaper or leaves) to add. You can also sprinkle in your soil or compost starter every week or two.

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Every couple of weeks, you are going to want to “stir” your compost pile. A pitchfork works a little better than a shovel, but just use what you have on hand. If you need to buy something to stir your pile, I really like this Compost Crank. It is so easy to use and does a fantastic job stir up the compost. If you do these minimal steps to to take care of your compost pile, you will have nutrient rich soil within about 6-8 weeks.

It doesn’t take a lot to get started, so hopefully now that you know how to start a compost pile, you can grab what you need and get started!

We would love to hear how your composting is going. Be sure to come back and update us on your journey and any tips and tricks your learn along the way. Composting in your backyard is a great way to save money by turning your waste into nutrient rich soil.

You can also save on landscaping. Find out how we saved thousands and tips so you can too!

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