Size and Timing

A minimum compost pile size of 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet (1 cubic yard of lightly moist, built compost, weighing about 1,000 pounds) is recommended. (In colder climates a minimum compost pile size of 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet will be needed to properly insulate the heat of the composting process.) Smaller piles fail to provide the insulation necessary for appropriate heating (up to 140°F) and allow too much air to penetrate. It is all right to build up piles slowly to this size as materials become available, though it is best to build an entire pile at one time. A large compost pile might be 4 feet high, 5 feet wide, and 10 feet long. A pile will cure to V3 to ¥4 of its original size, depending on the materials used.

The best time to prepare compost is in the spring or autumn, when biological activity is highest. (Too much heat or cold slows down and even kills the microbial life in the pile.) The two high-activity periods conveniently coincide with the maximum availability of materials in the spring, as grass and other plants begin to grow rapidly, and in the autumn, as leaves fall and other plant life begins to die.

An abundant garden starts with good compost made of "waste products" such as vegetable peelings, weeds, and straw. With some knowledge and planning, the garden can produce all its needed fertilizer and organic matter.
Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn't know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner.

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