If you create a pile of materials that can be composted, such as leaves, grass and food scraps, it will eventually decompose (it may take up to a year) if you do nothing. However, you can make compost decompose faster by using mulched and chopped materials in your compost heap, keeping the heap damp and mixing it every few days.
Things You'll Need
- 3 x 3-foot (approx.) compost bin
- Grass clippings
- Kitchen food scraps, such as fruits, vegetables and coffee grounds
- Food processor or knife
- Finished compost or soil
- Pitchfork or shovel
- Garbage bag
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Chop up everything that will go into your compost bin. The smaller the pieces, the better. Grind or chop fruit and vegetable scraps using a food processor or knife. Mulch leaves and grass trimmings with a lawnmower.
Layer your materials so there is 2/3 shredded leaves and 1/3 shredded grass clippings. Add ground fruit and vegetable scraps. Keep the layers thin: 2 inches for grass and 4 inches for leaves. Top with finished compost or soil.
Slice vertically through the pile in several spots using the pitchfork. This bruises and mixes the materials and also helps start the decomposing process.
Water the pile until it is damp, then cover with a garbage bag. You won't normally have to water the compost again, unless the weather is very hot and dry. If the compost heap completely dries out, water it. If it is too wet and begins to smell, remove the garbage bag so the sun can dry out the pile a little.
Slice vertically through the compost using the pitchfork or shovel on the second day. This continues to mix the materials and help them decompose. Do this again on the fourth day, then every three days afterward until the compost is decomposed, which can take as little as two weeks or up to a couple of months. The compost is finished when it is dark, crumbly and has an earthy smell.