At the bottom is the newer pile and the almost composted pile is at the top finishing up.

At the bottom is the newer pile where fresh materials are added, and the almost-composted pile is at the top finishing up.

If I have to listen to another person’s excuses for not composting I think I am going to scream. They say they have no carpentry skills, and can’t make a bin or cannot afford to buy a bin: You don’t need a bin. All you need is a pile and — yes — it will work.

They say they don’t have time: If you have time to put it in the garbage, you have time to put it in the compost pile. They say they are afraid it will look bad: It does not. They say they are afraid it will stink: It will not. They say they are worried that animals will scatter it: If you don’t add meat to the pile — which you should not — you won’t attract animals. If you want to put bones in there, lobster or mussel shells for instance, dig them down deep and cover them up and nothing will bother them.

Seriously, folks, composting is not rocket science. Oh yeah, I already said that. I know there have been books written about composting and formulas and yadda, yadda, yadda… But really all you need is a simple pile and it will work. Include garden clippings, dried leaves, grass clippings, kitchen fruit and vegetable trimmings (no meat nor fat which can slow down the composting process), coffee grounds, egg shells, tea bags, etc. and if you make a place for them it will compost.

For years I had just such a pile, still do, and it works just fine. Last year we put in three posts and a couple cross pieces to sort of “fence it” off since it is right in sight of the back yard. Even so, it never was unsightly, never had an odor or other caused any problem at all. And basically it is still just a pile.

We put up a couple posts with cross pieces to conceal the compost pile. No bins needed.

We put up a couple posts with cross pieces to conceal the compost pile. No bins needed. The compost would work without the little fence and wasn’t unsightly before it was added.

Here’s what I do:

• In the fall all the raked leaves and garden trimmings go into the compost area. In fact they swallow it up. All winter kitchen trimmings go into the leaves. I just bury new stuff down into the leaves.
• In the spring I turn the whole thing with a pitch fork. By then the leaves have settled down some and are actually wet and matted. Turning the pile incorporates some air into the ingredients.
• All summer I add new stuff from the kitchen, yard and garden trimmings.
• About half way through the summer I turn the pile. By then there usually is a nice layer of almost-composted material on the bottom. I fork the uncomposted things to one side and rake the mostly-composted material into a second pile to finish working.
• By late summer the second pile is completely composted, and I remove it to spread on the beds. The newer pile is turned and piled up to be left to work, and a new pile is started where the removed compost used to be. Still two piles.
• By fall the older of the two piles is ready to be used. That’s also when I cut back gardens and add a lot of green material along with the fall leaves. And the process begins again…

Composting does a lot of good things. FIrst of all it creates beneficial soil supplements that are completely free. Not only is compost free, compost provides your plants with beneficial microbes that do more than just feed them. It also makes them healthier plants and eliminates the need for commercial fertilizers. Composting keeps garbage out of the landfill. It is a simple way you can help the environment and yourself. It’s simple, it’s easy and if you garden you need a compost pile. So, why aren’t you composting?