I want to make a compost


Chillin' In The Garden
Apr 27, 2008
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Okay what all do you put in a compost pile? How long does it need to set? I have never had one so I don't know too much, anybody have any advice? Do's or don't's?


Deeply Rooted
Nov 23, 2007
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Ontario, Canada
Try using the "search" button, in the blue bar towards the upper part of this page, to search for threads about "compost". There is a lot of very good information already here :)

Reader's digest version:

Things compost faster if
-they're in small pieces not big chunks
-the pile is kept evenly moist, not too dry and not soggy
-there is an appropriate ratio of carbon to nitrogen, which i am not
going to try to explain here but is not all that complicated
-you toss a few shovelsful of garden soil into the pile
-the pile is relatively 'cubical', not flat and thin
-you turn in it periodically

Things compost slower if
-you toss in large objects like banana peels, half an overgrown
zucchini, corn stalks, whole autumn leaves, etc
-the pile is built where rain puddles, or is allowed to dry out in the summer sun
-you have mostly brown dry stuff, or (more rarely) mostly wet green
stuff like kitchen scraps or lawn clippings.
-the pile is small, or flat
-you ignore it

(Don't compost grass clippings, btw -- get a mulching mower and leave them on the lawn so it will be healthier and not need so much fertilizing)

But even if you do everything 'wrong', EVENTUALLY the interior of your pile WILL compost down, although it may take a couple years or even longer. So it's not like you have to do it a certain way -- it's just a matter of how much of a hurry you're in :)

Two easy ways to set up a pile: either 1) wire 4 pallets together into a square, that you can open up at one corner to shovel things out once they're rotted down enough; or 2) get a goodly length of wire fencing, you could use chickenwire but something more substantial is better and it's ok if the holes are really really big, and bend it into a circle to toss stuff into.

Don't compost fats, bones or meat products that will attract raccoons, dogs, rats etc (unless you really know what you're doing). It is also generally recommended not to compost cat/dog poop because there are protozoan and parasitic diseases that are transmittable to humans and may not be killed by your composting (especially if you do not do the high-maintenance hot-composting version).

Hope this helps,


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