Cold or Hot Composting

The heat that is generated from the breaking down of organic matter into compost is
known as hot composting. There is also cold composting, it doesn’t take as much of a
commitment from you to upkeep or manage but it does take quite a bit longer to yield
results.

Hot (or active) composting uses microbes to breakdown the matter. Some experts will
recommend you inoculate the compost with live organisms purchased from a gardening
supply store in order to get the process started. While others will recommend adding in
healthy top soil as it also contains live organisms that will convert your organic matter
into compost material. Either way, once the process is started your compost pile will
generate heat. You should tend or check on your pile every second day to ensure good
air circulation is maintained and that the right level of moisture is kept.

If you do not have the desire or time to maintain a regular compost bin, starting a cold
compost (or slow compost) may suit you better. In a cold compost, you are only using
your yard waste and grass clippings instead of a combination of outdoor material with
your kitchen scraps. All that is required of you is to pile your leaves and grass clippings
into a pile and wait. The process is slow and long – it will not yield usable compost for
up to one year. Be careful not to put in any weeds or other undesirable plants, as there is
no heat they will survive the composting process and can grow again when you use the
finished material.

If you generate quite a bit of yard waste and it is too much to include in your regular
compost bin consider using both methods. You can have the best of both composting
methods.