April 16, 2012

First Attempt: Hot Composting

Two weekends ago I built my first ever "legit" compost bin. I'm attempting to get some hot composting action to happen!

The main reason I built this new compost bin was because it was time to dismantle the bin from last year. I also really really needed to mow the lawn and clean out the 1-year accumulation of chicken bedding (I'm doing the deep-litter method, and it works great). This was the perfect opportunity to have enough "greens" and "browns" available all at the same time...which is exactly what you need to build a hot compost pile.

I started my bin with a layer of "browns", stuff that didn't fully compost in my cold compost bin from last year, followed by several bags of fresh grass clippings, and plenty of water.

For my next "brown" layer (which actually had lots of "green" chicken poop mixed in) I used year-old chicken bedding including the compressed poop patties I found during my archeological dig into their coop.

At least one of my "green" layers also included two-dozen egg shells, some liquidized carrots I found in the back of my fridge, and some other random rotting goodies.

Since my yard is absolutely enormous (and I can never mow it all in one go-round), I mowed only as much as I needed to achieve each grass clipping layer. Some might call that lazy...others might call it efficient!

I finished off 8 layers in one afternoon. When I went outside the next morning, my bin had collapsed (it had been really windy), but luckily the lasagna-esque pile was still intact.

You can really see how compressed the bottom layers became compared to the layers at the top. I eventually added two more layers (for a total of 10). I'm going to wait 7 to 10 days before turning the pile...and hopefully it will heat up in the meantime!


  1. Great post! Thank you for sharing! I compost everything I can, have you ever tried "Worm Tubes"?

  2. I know about vermicomposting, but I've never actually heard of worm tubes. I'll have to Google it!

  3. Looks like a nice lasagna mix. =)
    How thick are the layers of grass clippings? I've found they can easily turn into mats air will fail to penetrate. Still, grass clippings are a wonderful addition to the pile. Think of all that potential energy wasted sending those materials away.

    One recommendation I have is that you may want to try building a pile with a bit of a hump, as opposed to straight flat top: Wield convection air currents and limit compaction.


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