GOMER THE PILE
There are several reasons for piling the composting material. A pile keeps the material from drying out or cooling down prematurely. A level of moisture (50-60%) is necessary for the microorganisms to work happily.10 A vertical stack prevents leaching and waterlogging, and holds heat in the pile. Vertical walls around a pile, especially if theyíre made of wood, or bales of straw, keep the wind off and will prevent one side of the pile (the windward side) from cooling down prematurely.
A neat, contained pile looks better. It looks like you know what youíre doing, instead of looking like a garbage dump. A constructed compost bin also helps to keep out nuisance animals such as dogs.
A pile makes it easier to layer or cover the compost. When a smelly deposit is added to the top, itís a good idea to cover the raw refuse with clean organic material in order to eliminate unpleasant odors and to trap necessary oxygen in the pile. Therefore, if youíre going to make compost, donít just fling it out in your yard in a heap. Construct a nice bin and do it right. That bin doesnít have to cost money; it can be made from recycled wood or cement blocks. Wood (not pressure-treated) may be preferable as it will insulate the pile and prevent heat loss and frost penetration. A compost bin doesnít have to be complicated in any way. It doesnít require electricity, technology, gimmicks, or doodads. You donít need shredders, choppers, grinders, or any machines whatsoever.
Compost pits are more likely to be used in dry, arid, or cool climates
where conservation of moisture and temperature is imperative. The main
disadvantage of pits is that they can become waterlogged in the event of an
unexpected cloudburst, and excessive water will rob the pile of oxygen, a
critical element in the process of decomposition by aerobic microorganisms.
Therefore, when pits are used, a roof over them may be an advantage, and air
channels may be necessary to allow oxygen to enter the compost.
Source: The Humanure Handbook. Jenkins
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