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Is Composting Hard?

Making Compost Is Not Hard
There, that's my answer. Let me explain why I don't think that making compost is hard at all.

Here's a picture of one of my compost bins from last fall. It's probably around November or December. Do you see that it's filled to the top?

Now here's the same compost bin from about a week ago. Do you see how all of those leaves, grass clippings, garden and kitchen waste cooked down to less than half the size of the original pile?

Now here's where I explain the easy part. I never mixed this pile. Not even once. And in fact, I even continued adding more stuff to it during the summer. That's why there are grass clippings on the top of the pile. And I didn't keep it as moist as a wrung out sponge and I didn't worry about the ratio of browns to greens. It got wet when it rained and I put whatever kitchen & yard waste I had at the time right in there.

All of that fussing is for people who are trying to make compost in three weeks. What's the rush? And if you have more waste than will fit in one bin, then start another. I'm going to let this pile sit until the spring and add it to my raised beds or wherever I need it. And I'll also start another pile with all of the leaves that fall from the tree this autumn.

If you aren't in a hurry, composting is easy. Just fill a bin and wait a year. How hard is that?


  1. Norie said...
    I totally agree! My first ever compost pile wasn't cooking at all when I started late last fall. I added organic wheat bran as a natural booster, but in the middle of the winter here in northern jersey, how much can it help... (in Japan people add rice bran to compost, so that's where I got the idea) I did regularly add some kitchen scraps but just my husband and I, two of us, don't have much to add. Instead, whenever I found worms in my yard, I threw them into the compost pile, hoping that they eat the pile down. Now, after one year, I have dark brown, fluffy, earthy smelling remaining in my compost bin and I think people call it compost. The worms living in the compost pile is very fat and healthy looking. I just ordered two wire compost bins for the coming season!
    Anthony said...
    Hi Norie,

    That's great to hear. Composting the easy way is all about patience. I'm glad that you're happy with the results. Now go convince a few friends to give it a try. :)
    Daisy said...
    That's one thing I like about compost -- it happens. No matter what I do or don't do, it'll be suitable for adding to the garden come spring.
    Kelly said...

    As always, I enjoy seeing your compost bin in action (or inaction). Now I've been inspired to become a community organizer.
    Anthony said...
    Hi Daisy,
    Yes, I think I've seen t-shirts that say, "Compost Happens". :)

    Hi Kelly,
    Having a Carnival of the Green and Brown is a great idea. I hope tons of people check it out.
    Garden Bloggers said...
    Pretty cool. I've never really composted so I didn't know that such a big pile could reduce in size so quickly. One of these days I'm going to start a legitimate compost pile and see what all the fuss is about.
    Ottawa Gardener said...
    Yes. Yes. Yes. Though I can appreciate the art of composting. Really, it is not that hard. Nature does it all the time without a human measuring its moisture content and turning it at intervals. A great tip I heard for dry climes is to put your compost in a pit rather than a pile. I assume this is to keep in as much moisture as possible.
    Yau-ming's blog!! said...
    Hi, I have a question. The only area suitable for my black plastic compost bin gets exposed to sun and gets very hot. Worms don't survive there in Summer. But is it still ok for me to use the bins for my grass clippings etc. I notice that it seems to break down the organic waste very well.
    Ottawa Gardener said...
    I hear ya man. I hear ya. Compost can be an art or it can be a lazy person's responsible way of dealing with organic waste or both. I am part of the pile it and spread it once a year category. I suppose I could turn it...
    earthworm said...
    A new organic raw food restaurant opened and they let me have their left over veggies and juicer left overs-it's wonderful. Another source is to check with your local coffee house/Starbucks for coffee grounds. When I don't have room for more carrot cuttings I bury them.

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