If Your Compost Pile Won’t Heat Up
Most of the concerns or problems that you will encounter with your compost pile are
minor and relatively easy to rectify. They involve rotating the pile more; adjusting the
material you are putting in; and layering enough brown food for the top layer. The issue
of your pile not heating up will require more investigation.
The first thing to consider when your pile won’t heat up (when you are using the hot or
active compost method) is if you have enough green and brown food added. If your pile
is new this will take time. But if you have an established pile that won’t heat up, either
your pile is too large or you are not adding enough to start the decomposing process.
Another reason your compost pile may not be heating up is the presence of too much
brown food. If you have added a lot of leaves or other brown matter (high in carbon), put in more green food that is high in nitrogen. The presence of carbon and nitrogen is
necessary in the correct ratio (2:1).
If your pile is too dry this will prevent it from getting hot too. The microbes need a moist
environment to do their work. Add just enough water to make the pile damp or add moist
green food such as vegetable or fruit waste and grass clippings.
When you are using the hot composting method, remember to keep all matter smaller
than three inches. This will speed up the process and ensure all matter is broken up
evenly. If the mixture has large pieces it can delay the heating up process.
Weather is a factor too. If you are concerned that your compost is not heating up and it is
fall or winter – most likely it is too cold for the process to start. You can try insulating
your compost pile or wait for the spring.
The Pros of composting Versus the Cons
There are obviously downsides to composting or everyone would be utilizing this
resource instead of buying commercial fertilizers and other lawn care additives. The
downside is the time it takes to upkeep, the space to house a composting bin and the
amount of time before your first mature compost will be ready.
The benefits of composting far outweigh the downside. For the time you invest, the
space you give up in your yard and some patience you and your yard will get:
*A lesser need for commercial fertilizer or eliminate it altogether (saves money)
*Increased water retention in your soil. If there is a dry spell your garden and lawn
that has been treated with compost will fair better than those that have used
*Improved plant growth. You will also find an increased amount of fruit or
vegetables that your plants produce when using mature compost.
*Protection for your plants from diseases or pests that can destroy your vegetation
The environment also benefits from the time you invest into composting. In addition to
eliminating the amount of waste that goes to the city dump. In some cases organic
material makes up to 45% of the garbage that ends up in a dump – this can be greatly
reduced by composting.
*If there is an area of contaminated soil, you can add compost to assist in the
*Compost can help prevent and stop erosion
*Eliminates the need for adding chemical pesticides to your garden or lawn
*Decreases the amount of methane gas that is produced at the dump (by reducing
the amount of organic matter that is thrown away)
Like any new project or habit, composting will take some time to get used to. Once you
have completed the initial start-up process the time and energy you need to maintain the
pile is not a lot.