Composting 101: Stupid-Easy Compost Making in Piles & Bins

today I want to share with you all the

bare bones to starting a compost pile we

move to our off-grid property a little

over a year ago and even though we

weren't planning to have a really big

garden our first year we just had a lot

of other things to take care of we did

want to start composting and amending

our soil because when we're ready to

garden we want to be good to go

and building compost and soil is just

something that takes time so we thought

why not get started now instead of later.

We did quite a bit of research online

before getting started and honestly it's

really easy to get overwhelmed. There is

a scientific process behind composting

and it's really easy to get lost in the

details and the intricacies. So, I just

wanted to create this video to show you

just how easy it can be. Where to put

your compost pile? We chose to find a

happy medium and put our compost

somewhere where it wasn't going to be in

the way so is it in our main living and

walking area but we also didn't want it

too far from the house because we knew

that if we're putting our kitchen scraps

in the compost pile the further away the

less likely it is we would compost. So, we

tried to find that happy medium having

it too close to the house you risk it

smelling if it's getting out of balance

too wet

things like that; so that's why we chose

to have it out of the way and also we

didn't know how big we wanted to grow

our pile so we put it in a space that

allowed it to grow. One tip of advice if

you have a bigger property and you have

a little bit of flexibility on where to

put it, you might want to put it a place

where you can back a trailer up to the

pile because we frequently are out

and about when we pick up things for the

compost pile and it works really well if

we have a trailer of stuff to just dump

it off right here like we did with this

grass yesterday. What do you put your

compost in? Well, Mother Nature doesn't

use anything. Stuff just falls on the

ground and it decomposes and it's okay.

So, if all else fails you don't need

anything, just make a heap on the ground

and call it a day. We chose to use

pallets because we already had them, we

feel that this does keep it a little bit

more contained and gives you a compost

area and we also feel that it helped us

build up rather than out so we've liked

them they've worked really well for us.

Another option is to buy a compost bin

or tumbler, this might be a popular

option for

small scale composting or maybe if

you're in more of an urban environment

and you don't want some pile like this

sitting out in your backyard or maybe

you're afraid the neighbors are going to

complain. Bins and tumblers can be a

really good idea, I'll link to a few of

them below this video. What do you put in

the pile? Organic waste. Brown stuff and

green stuff, carbon and nitrogen - however

you want to word it. It's advised that

you don't put in meat products, dairy and

that you don't use waste from animals

that are meat-eaters and there's

probably a few other things. I'll go

ahead and link to some do's and don'ts

below the video. Nitrogen (or green stuff)

is things like lawn clippings. It's

advised that you try to get this type of

stuff pesticide and herbicide free if

you can because that's going to make its

way into your compost and ultimately

your garden. Also, things in this category

are food waste - coffee grounds. Coffee is

pretty much our main food group so we

have that one covered. Manure, that's a

really great source of nitrogen... Again,

for manure you probably want to do a

little bit of homework to see what that

animal ate to make sure that's something

that you don't mind being in your garden.

This type of stuff also tends to be wet

and retain a lot of moisture. If you get

too much nitrogen in your pile there's a

good chance that your pile will get kind

of stinky or slimy and that's a sign

that you need more carbon. Carbon is a

lot of that drier stuff, this stuff may

be a little easier to get it really

depends on who you are and the season. An

example of carbon are things like leaves;

those are pretty easy to come by in

fall. Sawdust, that's really easy for us

to come by on our property. Cardboard,

paper and even hay or straw. So, how do

you get all this stuff? In a perfect

world you would have all this stuff on

your property and plenty of it. We have a

few of these things over property but in

all honesty, it's not enough to amount to


So, we started looking beyond our

property for materials and resources.

This morning I woke up and I thought, you

know what I'm gonna get some carbon

today... So I went to our local park and

there's a lot of trees there - it's fall.

All the leaves are on the ground, so I

went with my rake and a few trash bags

and I came back with a trailer full of


For making the pile; you add a little bit of

green, you add a little bit of brown, a

little bit of green, little brown, shake

it all around and that's it. Let me tell

you another secret, if it's not perfect

that's okay. This wasn't perfect and I

don't know about you but this looks like

compost to me, usable compost. But now,

let's talk about caring for your pile.

While it can be complicated it doesn't

have to be, and it isn't for us.

We simply grow the pile to the best of

our abilities and we try to water it

every once in a while.

Ideally you want to keep the pile moist.

For us because we're off-grid, water isn't

in abundance so we try to do what we

can. We do try to churn the pile and mix

things up when we remember; again, that's

probably every two to four weeks. I don't

know that this is absolutely critical

but it can help speed things up.

When will the compost be ready? I believe

that really depends on the pile

maintenance and also what you put into

the pile, likely the time of year that

you start the pile.

We started this one in spring (early

spring) and the pile was pretty large

when we started and it's condensed down

a lot.

We didn't take super great care of this

one but I'd say that looks like pretty

good compost and that took probably

about six months... And for the basics,

that's about all there is to it guys.

That's it. We're huge advocates of simply

getting started. While we do try to do

research and understand what we're

getting ourselves into... Ultimately, we

don't want to suffer from analysis

paralysis. So, while there's probably a

lot we could be doing differently in the

end, this is working out pretty well for

us and we do have usable compost that's

ready to go in the garden. If you enjoyed

this video and you want to learn more

about the development of our off-grid

homestead, we have a lot of projects in

the works right now... We're working on

building a timber frame barn, we're

working on building a large garden, we're

working on fine-tuning our solar power,

things like that. Then feel free to

follow our blog, its

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video and we'll see you next time!