Polk County Conservation

Compost Piles

  • I started a compost pile a couple of years ago and something’s wrong because the pile doesn’t seem to be composting down. I throw my kitchen scraps and yard waste into the pile. Do you have any suggestions?

    I’ve had a similar problem with one of my compost piles. All organic material will break down eventually. The speed at which it breaks down depends on: the carbon to nitrogen ratio of the material, amount of surface area exposed, aeration or oxygen in the pile, moisture, temperatures reached in the pile, and outside temperatures.

    First I would evaluate the material in the compost pile. Too much of any one material will slow down the composting process. The bulk of organic matter should be 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. Leaves are a good source of carbon and fresh grass, manure, and blood meal are good sources of nitrogen. In general it’s good to keep a mix of green and brown material. Secondly, keep your compost aerated. The contents need to be mixed up so the pile gets oxygen and can break down effectively. A good resource to check out online is compostguide.com. Good luck!

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    12130 NW 128th St
    Granger, IA 50109

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