Hot Composting

Hot Composting (Hot and Fast)


  • heats up enough to kill most weed seeds and pathogens
  • uses space efficiently


  • labor intensive
  • must be built all at once, requiring storage of materials until enough is collected
  • requires careful control of moisture and carbon/nitrogen ratio


  • grass clippings
  • brown leaves
  • twigs
  • water


  • garden fork
  • water hose with spray head
  • compost thermometer
  • compost bin (optional)
  • burlap scraps or black plastic to cover top of pile (optional)


  1. Set compost bin or start pile in an area which it is sure to get rained on, yet preferably out of direct summer sunlight.
  2. Chop or shred woody trimmings over 1/2 inch diameter if adding large amounts.
  3. Lay 6 inches of chopped “brown” trimmings and leaves at bottom of bin or pile. Moisten materials as they are added.
  4. Add 6 inches of “greens” – grass clippings. Moisten.
  5. Mix layers with a garden fork and moisten dry materials.
  6. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until a pile at least 3 ft. x 3 ft. x 3 ft. is made, or until the bin is full.
  7. Monitor heat in pile using a compost thermometer. When pile has heated and starts to cool (about one week) turn it. Using a garden fork, move the material, shaking it in order to add air around the particles.
  8. Repeat Step 7 in one week. Repeat until pile does not reheat after turning (about four weeks).
  9. Let cure for two weeks before using.