|A compost pile should be made of a convenient size, usually not less that 10 feet square (100 square feet) and 3 to 5 feet high. The top should be left flat or with a slight depression in the center to catch rain or added water. Too much water eliminates air and slows the decay process.|
One way suggested in building the pile is to make a layer of leaves, straw, grass clippings, and other organic materials 1 foot deep, wet down and pack. Spread a layer of manure 4 to 6 inches deep over this layer of wet material. Then spread up to 5 pounds of ground rock phosphate or 1 quart of raw bone meal per 100 square feet, and 1 pound of ground limestone.
Instead of the rock phosphate and bone meal, you could use 5 pounds of a complete organic fertilizer such as Fertrell per 100 square feet. Also, a layer of topsoil is sometimes used.
Then continue to repeat the process until the pile has reached 3 to 5 feet high.
Compost will begin to heat after 2 or 3 days. Keep it moist, but not too wet, and do not disturb for awhile.
After 3 to 4 weeks, fork it over, mixing the parts to obtain uniformity. Fatty animal wastes tend to create bad odors, draw flies and ants; so, try to avoid their use if this will be a problem.
Compost for the garden should be ready from 2 months to 1 year, depending on the time of year, type of materials added, and skill of the composter. When the compost is broken down into a homogenous mixture, and no undecomposed leaves or other material may be seen, it is ready for use.
Kim, from WA, entered 1999-12-14