How To Make A Compost Pile

How To Make A Compost Pile

A compost pile is essential for any garden, as not only does it help you recycle nasty garbage, but it improves the quality of your soil, and therefore your garden. Learn how to make a compost pile the VideoJug way.

Step 1: You Will Need

A good somewhat shady outdoor location.
Shredded organic wastes/Compost-able materials.
Air and Patience. Compost doesn't happen over night!

Step 2: Find a Spot

Any pile of organic matter will eventually rot, but a well-chosen site can speed up the process. And that's good! Rotted organic matter equals compost--and growing plants love the stuff.

Look for a level area that drains well. Build the pile over soil or lawn rather than concrete or asphalt. The earthworms and other natural occurrences in dirt and grasses help with decomposition.


Sunlight is important to the composting process but you don't want your pile to be in a spot where the sunlight is direct all day as it will dry out the pile and prolong the process.

Step 3: Collect Organic Materials

Grass clippings, leaves, plant stalks and twigs are great compost material and add nitrogen to your compost mix…which it needs. Kitchen garbage for compost includes fruit rinds, carrot peelings, tea bags, apple cores, banana peels, egg shells, coffee grounds - almost any natural product which cycles through your kitchen. Manure can also be a fine compost ingredient. This process can be ongoing. You can constantly add to your pile over time.

Materials that should NOT be composted are any which promote disease, cause odors, attract pests, or create other problems. Meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, foods containing animal fats, human/pet feces, and weeds with developed seed heads.

Note: Compost will decompose much more quickly if chopped or broken up a bit when adding.

Step 4: Maintain or Don't Maintain.

The care of your compost pile can range from passive - allowing the materials to sit and rot on their own - to highly managed.
If you're anxious to get as much compost as possible for immediate use in your garden, you may want to be a little more hands-on. If your goal is to simply dispose of yard waste in a way that is more responsible that burning it or dumping it, a more relaxed method may be your answer. But keep in mind, a pile that is not mixed may take up to 34 times longer to decompose.

Nonetheless, you want to keep your pile moist- approximately the same level of wetness as a wrung out sponge. This promotes decomposition in an even, healthy manner and will get you the most vitamin rich compost in the end.

Step 5: Wait.

A well-built, well-maintained pile can turn to compost in as early as 2-3 weeks. Finished compost is dark brown, crumbly, and has an earthy odor. It shouldn't stink.