Follow the composting 1-2-3
- Chop larger materials as you add them.
- Mix the brown materials with the green materials.
- Maintain the moisture as damp as a wrung out sponge.
Two parts brown to one part green
The best mix of nutrients for healthy compost is two parts carbon-rich "brown" materials, such as dried leaves, mixed with one part nitrogen-rich "green" materials, such as grass clippings. Other proportions of brown to green can still create good compost, but may decompose more slowly.
Provide air and water
A compost pile functions best when the materials are as damp as a wrung-out sponge and have many air passages. Extremes of sun or rain can adversely affect the balance of air and moisture in your pile.
Chop it small
Smaller pieces of material compost faster. Chop garden debris with shears or a machete, or use a chipper-shredder or lawn mower to shred material.
Pile size matters if you like it hot
Compost piles can trap heat generated by the activity of millions of microorganisms and this speeds composting. A 3- by 3- by 3-foot compost pile is considered a minimum size for hot, fast composting. . If you achieve a good balance of carbon and nitrogen, chop it small, have a good volume of material, and maintain adequate moisture and aeration, the temperature will rise over several days. The most efficient decomposing bacteria thrive in temperatures between 110 degrees and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If your pile is not hot, don’t worry – cold piles can make great compost too.
Use a rodent-resistant bin for food scraps
Food scraps are especially attractive to rodents, and even yard trimmings can provide harborage. To discourage rats and mice from entering your compost, use a rodent resistant bin with a lid, floor and no holes or gaps larger than ¼ inch. It is best if the floor has holes to allow for drainage, aeration and soil contact, but not necessary.