How do you jump start a compost pile?

QUESTION: How do you jump start a compost pile? Mine seems to not be doing much. -Lewis C

ANSWER: A new compost pile can be a tricky balancing art. Here are a few tips to help you jump-start your outdoor compost pile so that it starts off strong. First, make sure to get the right balance of brown and green materials mixed in your compost pile.

A balanced pile will have an equal ratio of brown to green materials. Brown materials include dead leaves, straw, small twigs and tree branches. Green materials include vegetable and fruit waste, coffee grounds, and plant clippings. 

Another way to jump start your compost pile is to stir and turn your compost weekly. Stirring your pile regularly will help to incorporate oxygen into your pile, and keep temperatures heating up inside your compost, which speeds up the process of decomposition. 

You can also give your pile a speed boost by cutting up large vegetable and fruit rinds and peels into the smallest possible pieces so that they won’t take forever to decompose. Protect your compost from invaders by keeping meat, dairy, oil, grease, and other smelly foods out of your compost heap so as not to attract rodents and other pests to your bin.

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