Having a compost pile keeps organic yard and household waste out of your local landfill. It also creates a rich "natural" mulch for your flowerbeds and vegetable garden.
Here is how to create your own compost pile:
1. Create a pile (without a container) in an out of the way corner of your yard. Or you can, build a simple three-sided compost box about three feet tall and three feet square. Adding a removable front to your box is a good idea too. A compost box will allow you to pile up enough organic material so that heat builds up and decomposition is accelerated.
2. Properly managing your compost pile will speed up the process. First, you should regularly turn your compost over with a spade. Second you should keep it damp, but don't let it get soaked regularly. If you live in a dry climate you should spray your pile with a hose every few days. If you live in a damp climate you may have to keep it covered with a tarp between the application of moisture.
3. Your pile should be located where it can get some sun - in order to keep the temperature up. Regardless of the season, the interior of your pile should be warm. As the material decomposes it creates heat, so a warm interior indicates that it is decomposing correctly.
4. Your pile should contain both "brown" and "green" components with about 2/3 being "brown". Brown components are rich in carbon and include such things as dried leaves, pine needles, spoiled hay, straw and paper. Green ingredients are rich in nitrogen and include grass clippings, yard waste, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable kitchen waste.
5. Start with a 5 inch layer of brown components and then add a 2 inch layer of green, and so on.
6. Don't add meat waste to your pile because it will attract raccoons and other pests.
7. Don't add chemically treated grass, cat litter, dog feces etc.
8. Putting weeds in the center of the pile is good because the heat will kill the seeds. What a great way to get rid of all those weeds!
So go ahead and create your own compost pile. A properly managed compost pile will start yielding good compost in between 4 and 10 months. Your neighbors will be "green" with envy.