Backyard Projects and Crafts

Cold Composting

Cold Composting Basics

Today I am going to walk you through cold composting which is composting kitchen scraps and yard waste this year into rich, beautiful soil for next year.

Purchase Bins or Containers

A bin will contain your compost pile and make it more attractive as well as keep it from spilling or blowing over into your yard.

• Cover the bin or container to keep critters out.

• Normally has a trap door allowing you to scoop from the bottom of the pile.

Compost bin in the garden

Make Your Own Compost Bin

1.)  Make your own using fencing using metal or untreated wood fence posts for the corners and sturdy wire fencing or boards around them.

2.)  Be sure to have at least three feet wide by three feet deep to allow for enough space for materials. If you want a larger pile, go for wider over deeper.

3.)  Be sure when wrapping wire around your posts you do not leave any gaps.  You want the compost to stay contained to your fenced area and be tight corners to heat up and rot properly.

4.)  Add a tarp to cover for material to stay hot and dry when not adding to it.

5.) When the compost is ready, unwind the wire and scoop from the bottom of the pile. Then re-pile the undecomposed material and wrap the wire back around the heap.

6.) Or, if you live in the country – do like my grandmother just “Throw it on the pile.” No need for fencing 🙂

Serious Gardeners Use Three Piles

Many hard-core gardeners feel that three compost piles are the best for composting. By building a trio of piles you can compost in stages:
How to start the 3 Piles of compost for rich garden soil.

• One pile will be ready

• One will be brewing
• One will always be starting


Starting Your Own Cold Composting Pile

It’s easy to cook up your own pile. At first, layer grass clippings with a sampling of leaves and twigs to create a concoction that turns into humus, the best plant food.

Adding Kitchen Scraps

Added ingredients for the compost comes from everyday waste in the kitchen and yard.

Use a bin to collect kitchen scraps to bring them out to dump on your cold compost pile.

But, avoid any items that ruin your compost. See quick list below and save a copy for later.
Dos and Don't for adding kitchen scraps to compost

Don’t Use
Diseased plants
Sawdust or chips from pressure-treated wood
Dog or cat feces
Weeds that go to seed
Dairy products

Vegetable scraps
Coffee grounds
Plant clippings
Bark chip
Shredded newspaper
Sawdust from untreated wood

Quick Guide to Cold Composting for rich free garden soil - what to add and not to add guide

Does It Smell?

Heaps of rotten garbage emitting a horrid odor, is that what you are picturing?  If you maintain it correctly you’ll be able to produce great compost without producing an offensive odor.

• Remember to use the list above as your guide. Stay away from adding the don’t add’s above.  This is key.

• Chose a location in your yard that has space and is also out of sight.

 Adding Worms Speed Up The Process

Adding worms or worm castings speeds up the process as well. Great for gardeners like myself.  Here was the process using the deck bin before I set up one in my yard.

Start Small & In No Time It Will Be Second Nature

To just try out the cold composting process and get your feet wet, start small.  If you find it useful, you just may end up working up to that three pile method of bliss and being able to add rich humus to your garden soil using this method.


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Quick Guide to Cold Composting
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