Making Compost

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Making Compost Successfully

So you've got the bin, now what? Composting is more than just throwing a bunch of material into a pile and waiting. Of course, you could compost this way, but if you want quicker results, here's what you do:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recommends that you mix one part green materials with two parts brown material to form your compost pile. For faster composting, chop materials into smaller pieces. Mix in one inch of soil and keep the pile as moist as a wrung out sponge. Make sure to turn the pile once a week to let air in. If you follow these guidelines you will have finished compost in about four weeks. If you do not turn the pile often enough or don't watch the moisture level, it could take up to a year to break down.


If your compost smells funny or is not progressing, follow the guidelines below. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources also has a problem solving guide.
Problems Solutions
Bad odor
Not enough air or too much green material
Mix the pile or add in more brown material
Composts too slowly
Not enough water
Moisten and mix the pile
Pile is damp and warm only in the center
Pile is too small
Collect more material and mix it into the pile
Pile is damp and sweet smelling, but no heat
Lack of green material
Mix in more green material, such as fresh grass clippings, yard trimmings, and weeds (without seeds)