Build a Beautiful and Simple Compost Pile Without Spending a Dime

Reader Contribution by David The Good
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Composting doesn’t require tumblers, bins or thermometers!

Here’s a video I posted demonstrating how to make a compost pile you can construct with sticks and vines or palm fronds.

Once you hammer your sticks in the ground and interweave the vines or palm fronds, start layering your greens and browns, watering well as you go. When you reach the top, water again and cover with a good layer of browns. Leaves are great. This will keep in the heat and the moisture as the pile breaks down.

Here’s what the finished pile looks like:

I don’t bother turning these piles. Instead, I let them rot down for some months and then tear them apart and sift out the finished compost. The rest of the materials can be incorporated into a new pile or used as mulch around your fruit trees.

If you live in a very wet or very dry climate – or if the weather is getting colder – you can cover your finished pile with a tarp to keep the bacteria and fungi happy.

This style of pile keeps the composting material from scattering all over. If you don’t feel like weaving the vines through the sticks or if you don’t have anything to weave, just add more sticks to keep everything contained.

It’s a very good method for when you’re gardening or farming some ways from your house or on borrowed land, as this simple compost pile can be constructed from foraged materials. I used this style of compost pile when I was growing corn without irrigation on land a few miles from my house. When I cleared the space, I knocked in a circle of sticks, then threw in weeds, cornstalks and other compostable materials to rot down.

It works! Just be patient, as this is an unturned pile. It will take a little longer than a 2-or-3-bin compost pile that you turn and care for regularly, but the work is a lot less and it doesn’t cost a dime.

If you want to learn a lot more about easy composting, including how to compost meat, bones, logs, humanure and more, check out my book Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting. It’s a lot of fun and it keeps almost everything organic out of the landfill and feeds it back to the soil where it belongs.

Get out there and start composting! It’s easier than you think.

David Goodman (David The Good) is a gardening expert and the author of five books available on Amazon, including Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting, Totally Crazy Easy Florida Gardening, Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Outside the Tropics and Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening. Find new inspiration every day at his popular gardening website. Read all of David’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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