And does it smell bad?
A compost heap works by adding plant remains and other once living material to a pile that is later used for potting plants of enriching soil. The organic material breaks down as it sits and a rich, dark, earthy substance is formed that is full of nutrients. Composting is also a great way to recycle garbage that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
A healthy, well-maintained compost heap should not smell bad; rather, it should smell earthy and almost sweet.
Whether the compost is in a literal heap on the ground or sorted into a three-bin system, composting is basically the biodegradation of organic matter. As the microorganisms eat away at the organic waste, carbon dioxide is released and the compost heap will get very hot. You can choose to do passive composting and let the matter biodegrade on its on schedule without interference, or by managing the compost you can speed up the process to get your nutrient-rich soil faster (called active composting).
It is best to place your compost heap under a deciduous tree where it will get some shade, and make sure there is proper drainage or mold can grow. It is suggested to start your compost heap with a layer of straw or other dry yard waste (keeping grass to a minimum because of the bad-smelling nitrogen it produces). Then alternate with a layer of kitchen waste (vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, etc), then a layer of soil, and so on. Water and oxygen are vital for a healthy compost pile. Add some water (but not too much) and keep the pile aerated by turning it with a pitchfork. If it seems to be getting too dry, add more kitchen waste or water. Add more dry yard waste (like straw) if it seems too damp.
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