Asked by: Vasilka Rathgens
home and garden landscaping

How big should my compost be?

Last Updated: 16th February, 2020

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A good size for a pile or bin for hot composting is at least four feet wide by four feet high. In general, bigger is better, but four feet by four feet is a manageable size for most gardeners. The pile should be placed in full sun, if possible––shade will cool the pile down a bit and slow the process.

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Beside this, how big should my compost bin be?

The ideal size for a compost bin is 3 feet high, 3 feet wide, and 3 feet deep.

Also Know, is composting really worth it? Composting is worth it for those who want to create their own nutrient-rich soil amendments for a yard, garden, or flower bed. Turning yard debris and kitchen waste into compost is an excellent way to save money, make use of otherwise discarded material, and prevent unneeded landfill waste.

Subsequently, one may also ask, how much moisture does a compost need?

Right Amount Compost piles should be about 40 to 60 percent water, advises University of Illinois Extension. The easiest way to test the moisture content of the pile is to put on a pair of gloves and pick up a handful of compost and squeeze it. If water gushes out, it's too wet.

Should a compost bin be in sun or shade?

You can put your compost pile in the sun or in the shade, but putting it in the sun will hasten the composting process. Sun helps increase the temperature, so the bacteria and fungi work faster. This also means that your pile will dry out faster, especially in warm southern climates.

Related Question Answers

Jc Leek

Professional

What should you not compost?

What NOT to Compost And Why
  • Meat, fish, egg or poultry scraps (odor problems and pests)
  • Dairy products (odor problems and pests)
  • Fats, grease, lard or oils (odor problems and pests)
  • Coal or charcoal ash (contains substances harmful to plants)
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants (diseases or insects might spread)

Jorg Tenente

Professional

How often should I turn my compost?

How often you should turn compost depends on a number of factors including size of the pile, green to brown ratio and amount of moisture in the pile. That being said, a good rule of thumb is to turn a compost tumbler every three to four days and the compost pile every three to seven days.

Torben Nayak

Explainer

Can you keep adding to a compost pile?

The pile cannot adequately heat up enough because you keep adding to its volume, perhaps on a daily or weekly basis. For this reason this method of composting is also called Cold or Passive composting. Have no fear, however. You will eventually get finished compost, but it will be a little slower in the making.

Loay Storkebaum

Explainer

Can I compost without worms?

Composting without worms can be just as successful as the wormy variety. Add garden wastes such as grass clippings, leaves, or plant prunings. Avoid anything big or woody because it won't decompose quickly. If you don't have a good spot on the ground in your yard for a compost pile, consider getting a compost bin.

Noemy Geerts

Explainer

Samarita Reinart

Pundit

Should I cover my compost with a tarp?

Using a Lid or Covering for Compost
Not having a cover allows rain and a larger amount of oxygen into the pile, which is essential to the organisms that are breaking down the organic matter and turning it into compost. A cover, such as a tarp, is a popular choice I see suggested on other websites.

Sinesio

Pundit

How long does it take for grass clippings to decompose?

What Can Make Leaves & Grass Clippings Decompose Faster? Leaves may take up to two years to decompose naturally in the yard.

Cristian Mariezcurra

Pundit

Do compost bins attract rats?

Rats in Compost Bins
Rats are attracted to compost bins and heaps as a source of food, shelter and as a warm dry place to nest.

Eleonor Abdrazakoff

Pundit

Do I need to add soil to my compost?

Add soil to the top of compost any time, but make sure the soil is dry. Wet soil could cause the compost to become too wet, which may create a slimy pile with pest problems. Keep a pile of soil near the compost bin and add to it anytime you have surplus soil from planting a tree or bush.

Germaine Pellon

Pundit

Do I need to add water to my compost?

The composter contents should be moist like a wrung-out sponge. If the contents are too dry, it will take overly long to compost; and if too wet, the contents may begin to smell. If the pile does not decrease in size or generate heat, composting may need a boost. If the pile is dry, add water - mixing thoroughly.

Dilma Belchi

Teacher

What will make compost break down faster?

If there is one secret to making fast compost, it is finely shredding the carbon rich ingredients such as fallen leaves, hay, straw, paper and cardboard. Shredding increases the surface area that the compost microbes have to work on and provides a more even distribution of air and moisture among the materials.

Minodora Duch

Teacher

Can a compost pile get too hot?

If compost is too hot, it can kill beneficial microbes. Overheated compost piles pose no fire danger if they are properly moist but some of the organic properties will be compromised. Excessive temperatures in compost can cause a spontaneous combustion, but this is very rare even among over-heated compost piles.

Fatimah Mainhard

Teacher

Should I cover my compost?

Cover with anything you have – wood, plastic sheeting, carpet scraps. Covering helps retain moisture and heat, two essentials for compost. Covering also prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain. The compost should be moist, but not soaked and sodden.

Lanora Intriago

Teacher

How do you know when compost is ready to use?

There are a few ways to tell if your compost is ready to use:
  1. 1 It looks like dark, crumbly topsoil.
  2. 2 It has a pleasant, earthy odor.
  3. 3 The original organic materials (with a few exceptions) should no longer be recognizable.
  4. 4 The compost pile should have shrunk by half the size.

Cristino Larrola

Reviewer

How do I keep bugs out of my compost?

Here are some reminders and a few suggestions to help you avoid problem guests:
  1. Never put meat, bones, fats, dairy products, or animal waste into your compost pile.
  2. Place a layer of dry leaves or other “brown” on the bottom of your bin.
  3. Place your compost bin in a well drained area with at least partial sunshine.

Hajira Refolio

Reviewer

Mantas Izcue

Reviewer

Why compost is better than landfill?

One of the benefits of keeping compostable food out of landfills, I wrote, is that it reduces landfill methane – a greenhouse gas that is 72% more powerful than carbon dioxide. A compost pile, on the other hand, undergoes aerobic decomposition.

Catheryn Ohlhoft

Reviewer

What can I do with excess compost?

There is no such thing as too much compost. Use it as a mulch, dig it into beds as a soil improver, spike your lawn and sweep compost into the holes (this will improve areation water retention and drainage). Stack it somewhere inconspicuous and use next time you are planting out a new plant in the garden.

Doralia Estafiev

Supporter

Why is composting good for the environment?

Composting is good for several reasons: It saves water by helping the soil hold moisture and reduce water • runoff. It benefits the environment by recycling organic resources while • conserving landfill space.