Hello, I am a home gardener that recently set up a simple three-sided compost bin made out of wood pallets. I have been putting in my leaf debris, grass clippings, chicken feathers, and home fruit/vegetable scraps. I was under the assumption that simply piling up these ingredients and letting them sit in the elements would eventually result in compost. However, the Internet is full of people who think that you should always turn your compost, and/or that leaving a compost pile uncovered in the Oregon rain will diminish it's nutrient value. Help! How do I compost?
The answer to your question is “Yes”. You can turn your compost or you can never turn it. You can cover it in our Oregon wet winter or you can leave it to the elements and not cover it at all. You can cold compost or you can hot compost. In the end of either of these methods you will have the same ‘Great’ soil supplement. The difference is hot composting gives you a usable product quicker. The other benefit of hot composting is you have a better chance of killing weed seeds and some pathogens in your compost pile. To hot compost you need to be sure that your compost pile is moist; located in full Sun if possible, turned periodically, and covered in the winter so that is doesn’t get too cold and wet. In our wet winters both methods of composting will slow down due to the colder temperatures, with the hot method cooling less that the cold method. Here is a link on Coffee grounds and composting and another on timely composting tips.
One last tip; when searching the Internet for gardening information the best and most dependable information comes from websites that are educational institution (.EDU) and the government (.GOV).