Other than a bin for composting, the equipment you will need for a backyard compost pile will vary drastically from yard to yard. Any equipment you might need will generally fall into the following categories:

1. Aeration - In order to maintain a proper oxygen level in the pile, the organic material will need to be turned over periodically. Equipment for this includes:

  • Pitch Fork - A fork of some sort will help to dig into the pile and turn if over in place or into an adjacent bin.
     

  • Aerating Tool - These are specially made tools that allow you to force a point down into the pile. When it is pulled out, blades expand which toss the organic matter and allow the influx of air.

2. Particle Size

  • Chippers & Shredders - One of the easiest ways to increase the speed of the composting process is to start with smaller size pieces. Shredding the leaves, branches and other organic material as it goes into the pile will greatly increase the surface area that micro-organisms can chew on. It also greatly decreases the volume of the material you are handling. Many shredders will take 8 bushels of leaves and reduce them to only 1 bushel for the compost bin.

3. Monitoring

  • Compost Thermometer - Faster, more efficient microbes will be encouraged by higher pile temperatures. A long stemmed thermometer is useful for checking the temperature of the middle of the pile.

Starting the Compost Pile
 

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.

 
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