Asked by: Eliodoro Weickelsdorfer
home and garden landscaping

What size should a compost pile be?

Last Updated: 22nd 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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Similarly, what size should a compost bin be?

The ideal size for a compost bin is 3 feet high, 3 feet wide, and 3 feet deep. One compost bin may not be enough for your needs, so you should know how much debris you generate.

Subsequently, question is, should compost pile 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.

Also asked, what is the ideal temperature for a compost pile?

120-170 degrees Fahrenheit

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.

Related Question Answers

Jaymie Kirchgassner

Professional

How often should a compost pile be turned?

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.

Dwana Woezel

Professional

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.

Donatilo Kalisov

Explainer

Does a compost bin smell?

A properly balanced compost pile should not smell bad. Compost should smell like dirt and if it does not, there is something wrong and your compost pile is not properly heating up and breaking down the organic material. There is one exception to this rule and that is if you are composting manure in your compost pile.

Eustoquio Lars

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.

Aliseda Onufriev

Explainer

Should a compost bin be covered?

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.

Margoth Jagutyan

Pundit

How thick should compost be?

To bolster poor soil with little organic matter, spread 2 to 3 inches of compost over a newly dug surface. Then work the compost into the top 6 inches of earth. A garden soil that has been well mulched and amended periodically requires only about a ½ inch layer of compost yearly to maintain its quality.

Sinforiana Andre

Pundit

What is the best composter for beginners?

View The Best Compost Bin, Below
  • Algreen Products Soil Saver.
  • Yimby IM4000 Tumbler Composter.
  • WC Redmon Green Culture Compost Bin.
  • FCMP Outdoor Dual Body Tumbling Composter.
  • Lifetime 60058 Single Chamber Compost Tumbler.
  • Geobin Compost Bin.
  • Good Ideas Compost Wizard Senior Dual Tumbler.

Ilie Queyssalier

Pundit

What should you not put in compost?

  • Dog and Cat Poop. Horse, cow, chicken and rabbit droppings are great additions to your compost pile.
  • Tea and Coffee Bags.
  • Citrus Peels and Onions.
  • Fish and Meat Scraps.
  • Glossy or Coated Paper.
  • Sticky Labels on Fruits and Vegetables.
  • Coal Fire Ash.
  • Sawdust From Treated Wood.

Sandor Delages

Pundit

How do you compost for beginners?

Start with a 4 inch layer of brush, twigs, hay or straw at the bottom of the bin. Then add a 4 inch layer of brown material, then a thin layer of finished compost or good garden soil. That's one layer. Then add a 4 inch layer of green material topped with a thin layer of compost or soil.

R Zhdanko

Pundit

How do you start a simple compost pile?

To build a compost pile, start by putting down a layer of carbon, which includes materials like leaves, straw, corn stalks, and small twigs. Then, add a layer of nitrogen on top of that, which can be things like manure, vegetable waste, grass clippings, and garden debris. Finally, add a layer of topsoil.

Benat Altena

Teacher

Can you put sticks in compost?

Yes, you can compost twigs, sticks and branches – but with some warnings. Anything woody – twigs, sticks, bits of bark – will rot down eventually but even twigs and sticks take a lot of time and can make it difficult to turn your compost heap in the meantime.

Yattou Gilaberte

Teacher

How do you know when compost is ready?

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.

Garnik Arbona

Reviewer

Imade Loiza

Reviewer

How do you cover a compost pile?

The Short Answer. In most cases, a compost pile does not need a cover. Unfinished compost breaks down into a terrific soil additive if the pile is uncovered the whole time. Only three things are necessary for effective composting: air, water and a blend of brown and green material.

Suiying Cirbian

Reviewer

Why does a pile of mulch steam?

When mulch becomes too dry, the heat can build until a fire begins from spontaneous combustion. Periodically check the mulch by looking for areas that are steaming or producing gray ash. Steam rising off a pile of mulch occurs when the hot air from the decomposing wood mixes with cooler air.

Maija Borragan

Supporter

Lingyu Cilbeti

Supporter

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.

Nelly Wynants

Supporter

What will make compost decompose faster?

For rapid decomposition, your compost pile should have a carbon to nitrogen ratio of about 20:1. Carbon-rich materials include corn stalks, straw, dry leaves, sawdust, and shredded paper. Nitrogen-rich materials include kitchen scraps, fresh prunings from your garden, alfalfa hay, grass clippings and seaweed.

Ching Bordier

Beginner

What is the difference between hot and cold composting?

Hot composting kills weed seeds faster.
The higher the temperature the more seeds are destroyed. Many seeds will survive in 'cold' composting heaps. The problem is made worse as the seeds are planted in nature's best growing medium - humus/compost.