Locating the Pile

Compost piles can be built in a pit in the ground or in a pile above the ground. The latter is preferable, since during rainy periods a pit can fill up with water. A pile can be made with or without a container. We build our compost piles without using containers. They are unnecessary and use wood and metal resources.

The pile should optimally be built under a deciduous oak tree. This tree's nature provides the conditions for the development of excellent soil underneath it. And compost is a kind of soil. The second-best place for a compost pile is under any other kind of deciduous tree (with the exceptions of walnut and eucalyptus). As a last resort, you can build your pile under evergreen trees or any shady place in your backyard. The shade and windbreak provided by the trees help keep the pile at an even moisture level. (The pile should be placed 6 feet away from the tree's trunk so it will not provide a haven for potentially harmful insects.)

soil green vegetation and kitchen wastes dry vegetation twigs, small branches, corn, and sunflower stalks loosened soil (12")

The least expensive type of compost container is homemade.

For those who wish to use them, containers can help shape a pile and keep the materials looking neat. The least-expensive container is made of 12-foot-long, 3-feet-wide pieces of 1-inch mesh chicken wire with 5 3-foot-long, 1-inch-by-2-inch boards and 2 sets of small hooks and eyes. The boards are nailed along the 2 3-foot ends of the wire and at 3-foot intervals along the length of the wire (see illustration). The hooks and eyes are attached to the 2 end boards as shown. The unit is then placed as a circle on the ground, the hooks attached to the eyes, and the compost materials placed inside. The materials hold up the circle. After the pile is built, the wire enclosure may be removed and the materials will stay in place. You may now use the enclosure to build another pile, or you may use it later to turn the first pile into if you want to speed up the decomposition process. We rarely try to accelerate this natural process.

Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

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