How to start a compost pile

Actor & Environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. shares advice on how to build a compost pile that is most effective in breaking down decaying materials
How To Make A Compost Pile - Eco Friendly TIps
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

How to start a compost pile

Let me explain what composting is. You're mimicking a natural process that has occurred in our forest and all of our lands over many millions of years. Trees, loose leaves - they fall to the ground, they decompose, they mix with the moisture of rain or what-have-you and other materials, some other plants and animals even die, all that decay and what-have-you, breaks down, many different critters, small and large, eat it up and it becomes this wonderful plant nutrient. The reason an ancient forest thrive is because of that decaying material that's on the forest floor that breaks down and makes compost. That's what compost is in the natural world. What you want to do in your yard is mimic that natural process and not take a year to make compost the way some forest floor timelines go. You're going to take your table scraps, your grass clippings, your leaves, sawdust - if you have a wood shop or something - and you're going to mix it together. And there's a proper nitrogen to carbon ratio that I'm not going to tell you, because you don't need to know it. Here's what you need to do: you need to mix half brown and half green. Green would be green leaves, green grass clippings, green table scraps. Brown would be brown leaves, brown grass clippings or brown sawdust. Half green, half brown, mix them in a pile and keep it wet, not soaking wet but moist, and you will have perfect compost every time. That's the trick to compost. And if you want to get it started really quick and get it fired up and really hot and cooking right away, if you have a friend who has horses or you have a local pony ride near you or something, or a local stable, equestrians center, go there, "Do you mind if I come with a shovel and a bag and borough? I shovel full of something there I see on the floor of the stable." There'll be very happy to have you take some of it away, I can promise you. And you take a shovel full of that, put it in your compost, surround it with the brown, green stuff and it'll get hot and cooking right away.

Actor & Environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. shares advice on how to build a compost pile that is most effective in breaking down decaying materials


Expert Bio

More from Expert

Ed Begley, Jr.

Actor & Environmentalist

Inspired by the works of his Academy Award-winning father, Ed Begley Jr. became an actor. He first came to audiences’ attention for his portrayal of Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the long-running hit television series St. Elsewhere, for which he received six Emmy nominations. Since then, Ed has moved easily among feature, television and theatre projects.

Ed co-starred in the Woody Allen movie Whatever Works with Larry David, as well as the Seth Rogan/Judd Apatow film Pineapple Express, and a number of Christopher Guest films, including A Mighty WindBest In Show and For Your Consideration.

Other feature film credits include Batman ForeverThe Accidental Tourist and The In-Laws.

On television, Ed just completed Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, an HBO movie with Christopher Plummer, Danny Glover and Frank Langella. He also starred in the HBO movie Recount with Kevin Spacey, Tom Wilkinson and Laura Dern, and appeared in recurring roles on Six Feet UnderArrested Development and Boston Legal.

More Parenting Videos from Ed Begley, Jr. >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter