How to Make Compost

60 lb Pumpkin grown with only a Seed, Compost & Water

Composting is so hugely valuable for your plants (and your ability to show off your green thumb!) that I want to make this post as simple as can be.

A working (hot) compost pile needs only a few things to get started:

NITROGEN – in the form of animal manures, greens and/or kitchen scraps (NEVER include meat, dairy or the manures of humans or meat eaters in your compost pile!)

CARBON – think of dried leaves, dried weeds (before they go to seed!) and straw

MOISTURE – water hose

OXYGEN – aeration from turning every three days or so

SIZE – the pile should be 3-4′ tall and wide to heat up properly


Large pieces of weeds and small tree branches can decompose if let to sit in a pile for a year.

Smaller pieces, turned regulary, with the right amount of water can actually make great smelling earth in as little as three weeks!


When the pile has the right amount of water and air, there should be no odor!  The pile should also shrink to half it’s size in a few days when the pieces are small.  These are signs that you are doing it right.

The fresh scent of earth is also the best test to show that the compost is decomposed enough for your garden as well.

This process is so worth mastering!  There is nothing like quality compost to repel pests, feed plants and nourish people!

Questions? Suggestions? Email