Return to the Soil Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Starting a compost pile?

Posted by nostalgicfarm 5 (My Page) on
Wed, May 4, 11 at 15:57

I have a compost pile that hasn't ever done anything. I am thinking about starting another compost pile either inside or outside the garden. I love the idea of having a HOT compost pile that has some redworms at the bottom and sides.
I have or can get the following:
chicken manure in straw
grass clippings
wood chips
My neighbor has horses, so I could get some horse manure.
And of course veggie scraps

What is the best way to get a compost pile started? How often does it need watered/turned?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Starting a compost pile?

Oh man, such a loaded question... ;)
Mix it all together and watch it work is my general answer.

For watering it depends mostly on where you are, here in MA the answer is probably never if its in the shade as we get plenty of rain. In an arid area you might need to water but you're going to have to watch it and find out.

How often you turn depends on how soon you want compost. I run 2 piles, in the spring I turn the working pile into the resting spot, thats all the turning my pile ever gets, the following spring it'll be compost. If you want compost more quickly you'll need to turn more often. Turning will also give you a good opportunity to judge if you need to water. It'll also tell you how good your mix is, you'll judge that by smell, if its stinky put in more wood chips or straw. I try to run just to the edge of stinky, too heavy on the wood chips will take longer to make compost.

RE: Starting a compost pile?

Curt-I have been throwing it all in and just watching it :) Problem is that it keeps getting higher as I throw more stuff in, instead of breaking down. I think there is even a dead cat or two in there, and hoping they will break down before the investigators come ;)
My pile is and a new one will be in the I guess I don't know how moist to keep it?
All I know at this point is that I have a lot of tools at my disposal, but am not good at this gardening stuff yet.

RE: Starting a compost pile?

First of all, I'm a lazy composter, so I never do anything except for throw stuff in and wait.

However, I found the Florida composting site to be useful, and the virtual pile is fun and gives you an idea what your ratio is.

Go to:

Good luck =:)

RE: Starting a compost pile?

A hot compost pile will not have worms in it, because the environment would be too hot for them and would cook those worms. A compost pile that does have worms in it would be too wet to get hot.
The best way to get started composting is to read a good tutorial (linked below) and then pile up your material with 6 inches of vegetative waste and 2 inches of animal manure in layers about 4 feet x 4 feet until that pile is 4 feet high, or keep the ratio of vegetative waste to manure (or your nitrogen source) to about 3 to 1.

Here is a link that might be useful: Online Composting tutorial

RE: Starting a compost pile?

After years of not getting a hot pile, I finally got one. Here is what I did:

Made a bin from free wood pallets (mine is just a 2 bin system).
Used my lawn mower to shred leaves and collect grass clippings (I was lazy with the fall raking in the backyard, so I had plenty of brown leaves).
Piled it as high as I could with the grass clippings and shredded leaves (probably 4 feet high)
Add water,
and, urinated on it several times (I know some folks might take issue with this, but it has worked great for me...and it brings back childhood memories).

Last week I went out on a cool, spring morning and pulled back the top few inches and saw hot steam escaping. Pretty cool moment (as far as this composting stuff goes).

RE: Starting a compost pile?

" urinated on it several times "

I have a 3 1/2 year old boy that could be trained in that direction :)

RE: Starting a compost pile?

Great idea ! The 3-1/2 year old would love it.

I had a friend whose mother-in-law would let and even encourage her grandson to urinate off the front step, even if he was inside and closer to the washroom, LOL ! She had nice green plants.

RE: Starting a compost pile?

  • Posted by jolj 7b/8a-S.C.,USA (My Page) on
    Thu, May 5, 11 at 21:12

I do not urinate on my compost, it works better to keep deer out of my beans & sunchokes!!!
But I bet the 3.5 will love it.
My link below is so you can see the photos of 4' X 4' X 8' bags of coffee chaff in my garden plot. See the steam(smoke) & John H. has a better photo then mine, a better every thing then mine.
Any ways, wanted you to see what the right elements will do with no help from me. The chaff is wet, then most of the water is removed & it is bagged to be sent to the Landfill.
I got it instead & it will rot to peat moss consistency in 10 to 12 months without me touching the bag. In the photos I am spreading it to smother weeds, under 14-18 inches of chaff & later turn it under to finish composting.
But get thing right & you will be rolling in compost in no time. The above posts are full of good information.:-)

Here is a link that might be useful: hot compost with no help

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Soil Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here