Photo above:

This is the pile we have been layering over the past few months. It contains a year’s worth of vegetarian kitchen scraps, Halloween pumpkins, garden & lawn trimmings, lawn mushrooms, discarded pears, kelp & seaweed, coffee grounds, etc. The pile has been layered with the leaves that fell here in October and November.

This pile has never been turned. Today is the day.

Just leaves in this pile. We will add some of these leaves each time we turn the new compost pile.

Cage was easy to lift off the pile we are turning.

We put down a good base of leaves.

Now we’ll top off the bin and add more leaves if they will fit.

In the middle of the job.

The pile was dry so we added water. These buckets still had water from the irrigation season. Placing water in the bucket and leaving it to sit outside for a few days can help to remove chlorine if there is a trace of it in your water.

The older, unclean looking water is just right for compost.

All done for today.

Footprint of the pile we turned.

We’ll come back and repeat the process several times in the weeks ahead. If the pile gets too wet, we’ll cover it.

During the next couple of turns, we will add all of our remaining leaves.

At that time, we will stop adding our daily kitchen veggie scraps to this pile. We want the pile to mature towards finished compost. The daily kitchen trimmings will then be added to a separate smaller bin, where they can stay until leaves fall again next year.

When we are done adding leaves we will turn the pile several more times.

Dec 12th, 2020 update:

Turned the pile again and added all remaining leaves.

One disadvantage of laying down a base of dry leaves when turning the pile is that the bottom will become the top on the next turn. If some of the leaves are still loose and dry, the wind can take them away.

Covered the pile because we are getting windy here in the next few days. The pile needs more moisture from rainfall. When the winds pass, we will uncover it to let it get wet for a time.

Dec 20th, 2020 update:

Winds are over for now. Rain headed in. Uncovered the pile this afternoon so it could get wet.