How to Make Compost With Grass Clippings


Hi, everyone. I am really excited
about this compost. I know I’ve done lots of
compost videos before, but this one is working out
really good for me right now. So I just wanted to talk
a little bit about what I’ve been doing,
and then I’m going to build a new compost pile
based on how I built this one. So this here is a fairly
finished compost pile in about three weeks. And I cannot believe how hot
this compost pile got within the first 24 hours
of me building it. Look at this stuff. Nice and black. There’s still chunks of sticks
and different things in it. But for the most part,
I’m calling this done. Nice and black, and
oh it smells so good. I love the smell. Now, just to let you know a
little bit about the system that I do is I build a compost
pile completely from start to finish, let it compost
for about three weeks, and then when it’s
done, I move it over into this silver bin right here. And that’s what I’m going
to do right now, because I’m going to show you how
I built this pile. And I was really excited,
because it finished up really, really quickly and got
super hot, just like I said. So I’m just going to scoop this
stuff over into my other bin here. And that way, I can
use it for my garden. And I don’t usually
like to sift my compost. I just throw it in the garden
and take out the big chunks. But this is done enough for me. I’ve got a whole
bunch more materials that I need to get making
another compost pile. So this is all going
to go into this bin. OK. That should take care of it. There we go. This is ready for
a new compost pile. OK. So let me just tell you a little
bit about what I did here. And I was actually
really surprised that it heated up so quickly. I used simply food scraps
and grass clippings, little bit of coffee grounds,
little bit of eggshells, and a little bit of leaves. And I think the reason why
it heated up so quickly is because I had way more grass
clippings than I usually have. And wow, seriously, you guys, I
had to come out here and check on this pile every
couple of days, because honestly I was
a little bit nervous about how hot it was getting
and being so close to my house. So I’m going to go ahead
and build a new pile. I’ve collected a
bunch of materials, and just show you what I did. I just used what I had on hand. And I just actually want
to encourage you guys that composting is so easy. Just use whatever
you have on hand. That’s what I did. And this time, it just
worked really, really well. So there’s no way I’m
getting rid of those grass clippings from when
I mow the lawn. So let me just tell you a
little bit about what I do. I have my bin here. And first, I’ve got over here a
pile of a little woodier things that pull out of the garden. I’m going to put
this on the bottom, because that’ll help
give a little bit of air and a little bit of substance
to the bottom of the pile. So I’m actually going to take
my sharp-ended shovel here and just kind of pound
all this stuff up, break it up as best
I can into pieces. And I just throw stuff I pull
out of the garden in this pile, and I save it for when I am
building a new compost pile. OK. And I’m just going to layer this
stuff– where’s my pitchfork. My pitchfork– layer by
layer into my bin here. And the important thing is
to water down each layer, because compost
needs water and air. Pretty much all
I’ve done is just spread a thin layer here of
this kind of woody garden waste. And then pound it up
a little bit more. I like to trying to
get it as pretty broken up, although I’m not
hard and fast about that. Going to chop it with
my sharp-ended shovel. And then I water each layer. Grab my hose over here. It’s really pretty easy. It seems like the more I
think about it, honestly, the less it works. The quicker I do it and
the simpler I keep it, the better it works. So I got my one pile
here, and then I throw a handful of
finished compost. That just kind of activates it. And my next layer is going
to be grass clippings. So I’ve got a pile of
grass clippings over here. Just take my pitchfork,
grab a couple. And these kind of tend
to get matted down. So I do have to get in
there and spread them out. These, I think, we used when we
cut the grass a couple of weeks ago. So they’re kind
of matted, and you can tell they’ve already
started to decay a little bit. There’s that white
kind of grass mold. Now, let me just
tell you, when you make compost with a
lot of grass clippings, once it starts to
break down, it’s going to smell like manure. Even camera guy goes,
eew, that stuff smells. And the reason for
that is, if you think about how
cows produce manure, they pretty much
chew grass, and it passes through their stomach. And it’s basically decomposed
grass that they poop out. So this isn’t the best
smelling stuff in the world. But, hey, it works. So I’ve got my pile of
grass clippings here. Want to kind of break them up. And then I’m going to
add some food scraps. So let me go grab
my food scraps. Before I add my
food scraps, I am going to throw a little bit of
water on these grass clippings. Not too much, because
a lot of my food scraps have been sitting in my
extra refrigerator, or even my freezer, for
a couple of weeks while I collected enough to
build a new compost pile. And a lot of them
are pretty damp. So your compost pile,
what I always try and do is it should be about the
dampness of a wet sponge. Like when you squeeze it, it
should kind of stick together. So these food scraps
had a lot of moisture in them, so I don’t need
to add a lot of moisture here to the grass clippings. We’re going to dump some on. Oh, those are real wet. Those are like old watermelon
rinds and all kinds of stuff that have been
sitting for a while. And again, I’m going to
go ahead and chop this up. Now, this is just how I do it. There’s lots of different
ways to compost. But this is just what I’ve
found works best for me. And kind of the nice thing about
it is it is pretty physical. I know some people buy those
fancy compost tumblers, and that’s great. But this is free. It works for me. And it’s also a good workout. So I really like it. So I got a layer of
food scraps in there. And next what I’m
going to add is I’ve collected, not
a lot of leaves, but a little bit of leaves
that I had around my garden, just sitting under trees,
and that kind of thing. And I think that’s the
difference here between the way I compost in the
winter and the way I’m composting now in
the summertime when I have lots of grass clippings. Don’t have a lot of leaves now
like I do in the winter time. But I do have a few, so
I’m going to add those in, because those do add good
browns, which definitely help heat up your pile too. So add a layer in. And these leaves are pretty
well crushed up and broken down, so that really helps too. Will help them break down
faster in the compost pile. And again, I’m watering here. Oops. Don’t want that in there. Watering here again. And now it’s time for a little
more of this finished compost. Sprinkle a little bit. OK. And then I’m pretty
much just going to repeat the layers until I get
this pile as high as I possibly can with the
materials that I have. So let me go ahead and do that,
and we’ll come back and show you how it looks. OK. We are almost done. And my last few
layers are actually going to be all grass clippings. So I’m going to want to
put those– actually, I’m putting them in pretty
thin layers then watering, because the grass clippings
tend to get matted down. So you do want to water, if you
have to add a lot all at once. Water in between layers. A few more, and then
we are just about done. OK. Well, as you can see,
it’s kind of a messy job. It doesn’t help that
my hose leaks either. Look at that. Got to get that fixed too. OK. So I’ve got my layers
built. Now, some of you might be saying–
and I know what you’re thinking– that there’s
no way this pile at this height is going to get hot. I actually got a wonderful
tip from a viewer last fall when I
was first trying to build a hot compost pile. And this viewer said
to build this up into like a volcano type shape. So that’s usually what I do. Once I get my layers built, I
just scoop it all up as high as I possibly can. Now, the ideal height
is really three feet. But you know what? I’ve never gotten it three feet. I just collect the
materials that I have, get it as high
as I possibly can with what I have on hand. So I would just
encourage you to do that. Don’t wait until you have enough
to make a three-foot pile. Just start composting. And that’s what I did here
with these grass clippings. And you just kind of pull
everything to the center and get it as high
as you possibly can. And you don’t even really
have to have a frame. I just actually have
this old wood frame here. But you could really just
pile it up on the ground, and it would work just as well. OK. So I think I’ve got this about
as high as it’s going to get. And it doesn’t matter if
the layers all stay together or anything like that. OK. That’s probably,
maybe two feet high. I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m going to water it down one
more time so it’s good and wet. And what I like to do to be able
to tell if it’s getting hot, I’ve got this little–
it’s not a piece of Rebar, but it is metal. And I like to just
stick it in the middle. I’ll put it right over here. I’ll stick it in the middle so
that we can tell come tomorrow when I pull this out–
kind of hold it on my skin here– how hot it is. I don’t have to dig into it. So I’m going to leave that. And I actually cover it. I’m going to cover
it with a tarp. And I am hoping
that within 24 hours this pile is steaming hot. If it worked like it
did the last time, it’ll be steaming hot
by tomorrow afternoon. Now, I’m going to turn
this in three days. And we’re going to come back
and do another video then, and we’re going to show
you guys the next steps. Basically, we’re
going to turn it, and this pile’s going to be
done in about three weeks. So that’s all there
is to it, really. Use what you have on hand. That’s all I did. It’s very simple to compost. And the reason why
you want to compost is because you’re creating soil
for your garden, something that will feed your garden, out
of the things that you’re going to throw away, your
grass clippings, your food scraps, your garden
waste, whatever you have around the house. That’s all there
is to it, folks. OK. Thanks a lot for watching. We’ll back to show you
the progress pretty soon on the next video. All right. See you later.

100 thoughts on “How to Make Compost With Grass Clippings

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  2. Thanks for sharing!! I love making my own compost in my container bin like you have there. It is breaking down so good so fast! So dark and I love the smell too! It's amazing for the garden!

  3. Nice video abt composting. We use cocopith an extraction of cocopea for converting home waste and grass weeds into compost.

  4. Madam what about having a compost machine at your home? You will get far better compost and within shorter time. You will get a beautiful byproduct as well.

  5. Thank you!! I'm going to start a comedy pile but have been worrying about not having enough scraps e.t.c. Hopefully I'll get it done this coming weekend. 😀

  6. Cool video. A real quick, effective and inexpensive compost pile can be made by taking a piece of 4 or 5 foot high welded wire fence and making a ring out of it about 4 feet across. Start adding grass clippings, kitchen scraps, garden waste, etc. to the pile and make it lower in the center so that water will penetrate the pile without running off. If kept moist (not wet) and turned every 3 or 4 days, you can create a lot of composte in less than 30 days.  

    To turn the pile, lift the wire ring off of the pile and set it next to the pile and then fork it back into the wire ring. It takes just a few minutes. I had chickens at one time and everything from the coop went into these wire rings. The advantage to the wire is that they "breathe" and composte needs air to work.

  7. I make compost all through the year. And no eggs shells, coffee grounds, bananas peels, grass clipping, branches, leaves, etc, go to waste.

  8. Can u make a video about what u do with ur harvests so like recipes with ur organic vegetables and fruits. Maybe even a vegan episode. It could be a whole series

  9. So I had a compost that I started a few months ago. Because of the time change and a little bit of cold weather. As I live in South Carolina my compost not has a bunch of bugs in it. I am wonder if I have to start from scratch or is there a way to say the compost as the soil is super rich and I don't want to just throw away?

  10. I wouldn't recommend putting the pile close to the home. It will rot the fence or house if it gets close to either. Unknowingly, there were mushrooms growing on my fence wall because of the rot, lol.

  11. Hi Kim it’s autumn in Australia can the fallen leaves be used as well for compost instead of grass cutting .

  12. Just wondered why you didn't place the dead stuff into the box and then chop it. Could have saved considerable effort. Love your stuff!!!

  13. You do need to be careful to be sure it does not spontaneously combust into a fire and burn your house down!

    If you want things to get hot, try peeing on the compost pile in your next video. I guarantee you it will be steaming hot!

  14. Kim, I learned that compost us the only way to have high production from this Tn clay dirt. Let me see your garden. Please

  15. Thanks so much, can’t wait to try your way of composting. I bought a 3 foot high chicken wire so I can enclose the pile somehow& be able to scoop it up high. Never thought about saving my scraps in the frig . Great job.

  16. Mix 12oz.of coke, not diet with 12oz of beer, not lite, and 8oz.of ammonia. Put the mix in a quart jug that can be attached to a garden hose. Then spray the mixture between each layer and top it off with a layer of dirt. That's what I do and it works great. I've since got a worm bed where I put kichen scraps and I harvest worm casting and compost tea. I enjoy your video : ) Good luck.

  17. Turning compost is hard work, especially for an older man with two back surgeries. My compost pile is a 4 ft. diameter, 4 ft. high circle of 2"x1" fencing. After 2 turnings, I knew I wouldn't make it through the season, so… for the third season I rigged an aerator. I had an old extension cord reel and a tire tube from my riding mower front tire. The tube had a small leak and i'd been meaning to patch it. I put the tube over the extension reel to keep it from being crushed by the weight of the compost and ran an air hose out the bottom of the pile. Every day when I passed by, I would pump up the tube and let the air slowly leak out into the hottest spot of the compost pile. When the days stayed in the upper 90's, I just carried out my battery jump starter (most have an electric air pump) and filled the tire tube.
    I mow a bit over 1 acre of lawn, and kept the pile topped off, including kitchen scraps for the whole season. I never turned it again! This year my 800 sq.ft. garden used only a third of that mulch. I'm now building an 8'x8'x1' raised bed for sweet potato's with the rest (and some top soil). Last year I just threw 5 plants in uncultivated clay/sandy soil and harvested about 15 lbs of potato's. Imagine the return I'll get from this 30 plant bed full of compost!

  18. @CaliKim29 I'm glad that I stumbled across your channel. You've got really great info, and I appreciate how you break the processes down in simple terms that anyone with ears should be able to understand and put into practice for themselves.

    I live in Cali as well (Monterey Bay area) which has a fairly mild climate most of the time. I'm assuming you may be located in SoCal somewhere? I'm curious, what's the weather like during the summer months in your neck of the state?

    I hope to have good enough weather/ temps to produce some decent ice box rainbow watermelon this season… maybe I should try some of that black plastic to maintain the heat in my soil?

    This is my 3rd season growing in our home garden, and I am looking forward to applying some of the ideas that I've learned from your videos. Thanks!

    P.S. … I had no idea that gardening tip videos would be so chalked full of oddly desperate dudes (I assume?) that apparently feel compelled to comment about your looks, etc. Sorta creepy if you ask me but hey call me old school I guess 😂👍🍻

  19. Hi, thank you for the info, but what I am concerned about is rats and mice, this open composting concept is it going to attract the rats and mice and squirrels?! Please u need answer, cause I liked the process. Thanks

  20. Excellent video on composting Kim! What are you doing for the rest of your life. I could use an intelligent woman in my life who's pretty and not afraid to get dirty. Lol 😂

  21. Rather than worrying how hot it is getting next to your house, you should worry about how wet your house is getting. You should probably move that compost pile away from your house a bit to avoid rotting your siding

  22. Omg.. videos like this is why some are intimidated to make their own compost. All you need is FRESH cut grass clippings for nitrogen, leaves for carbon and every other day moisten with a water hose after you aerate/mix the pile.

    No layers, leftover food, moldy grass, finished compost needed.

    And don't keep your compost pile next to the house and if in direct sunlight be sure to keep it moist.

  23. I started composting for the first time and when I went to turn it over the color of the leaves turned black and is breaking down. It hasn't been that warm here in Michigan but it seems to be breaking down well. I must say I didn't check as often as your video suggests (it sat outside for 2 weeks before I checked on it). I don't have a pitchfork and the ones at Home Depot cost $50. I didn't want to spend that much so I was looking on Amazon and saw a few but the comments about the handle breaking turned me off. Where did you get your pitchfork?

  24. For safety…you should move your compost, away from your house . You have such a small place where your compost pile is now..and so much wood in that area…fire can ignite very easy if hot enough…god bless ..

  25. you girlfriend are the reason why I decided to try to do a youTube channel . your the first youTube channel I ever watched. this is the first youTube segment that I watched before I even knew anything about subscriptions. I am still trying to perfect the editing. Thank you Thank you

  26. Ok thanks for the video. I am going to try it. I just mowed the lawn and here in Toronto City does not take the grass clippings so the best option is to compost it.

  27. i really need to ask you a question what does it mean when you have bugs inside your compost is it really bad to have bugs in your compost yes or no

  28. Kim and Mike. Thank you for always sharing all the great information on gardening! You have been a great help to me. Thanks again kids!

  29. You might want to do that away from a building. Ive had my grass clippings get so hot the top layer caught on fire.

  30. I love this video cuz most of my fast compost comes from grass clippings great information great teacher

  31. And its funny u said thar bout the cows i composted grass in my green can the city gives us the stuf at the botom was so mucky smelled and look like cow pies lol

  32. This is such a great video Kim! Thank you so much for sharing!! I love making my own home made compost! It's so great for the garden!

  33. Looks like a lot of work, along with having heaps of yard debris around (trash in my fridge). What about attracting bugs or vermin?

  34. I have a full sun yard. Is it ok to do this method and leave it or would I need to add water occasionally?

  35. some people run a really long hose through the middle of a compost pile to get free heated water up to 60c

  36. I see you are using oranges and I was under the impression when making compost you can't use citrus? Is that not true?

  37. merci kim
    bonjour de suisse en californie
    am california fan
    new gardener and i know i'll have to start composting …. sooner than later 🙂

  38. hi CaliKim… i bought one of those `fancy tumblers' spent an hour putting it together, was anxious to get it started put a lot of crisp brown leaves, coffee grounds, corn husks, banana peels, tea bags, assorted veg and fruit peelings and over ripe……. nothing, not even warm, so back to the vids, i watched organic John(i know you know who im talking about) he says go to a feed store and get these horse pellets for horse stalls, compressed saw? dust to soak up wetness in the stall… well i tried a lot of things including compost starter from Jobe, eventually i put a whole bag in(4 lbs i think), today i checked again to water it, after 3 and 1/2 months i think i am seeing the beginning of compost, the sidewalls were warm but it was 98 today, there goes all my tomato blossoms(it was in the shade and got water in it by then)it never had maggots but it stunk real good for over a month …i see some very dark clumps, looks like a horse was in there, hahahaha…. the story is to let you know those tumblers are junk in my opinion, no worms can get to it, its not close to proper compost size……for the amount of money i spent and the size of a possible compost haul, i could buy 3 big bags of compost… does not include cost of fancy tumbler, i did the tumbler for a few reasons…. keeps all the critters out, i can move it easily, it saves my back, but none of that matters if it wont compost, which i consider it did not… 4+ months is unacceptable. well its too late anymore so i will turn to the ground and see if i can get it to work over the winter. if you read all this… bless your heart… by the way i have a compost tumbler for sale…. lol……is there a winner yet?? i have not seen any info, maybe its not quite over, go CaliKim!!! take that rusty gardener down!!!!

  39. Great tips Kim, and a heck of a workout too ! Next year i plan on doing that with all my grass clippings and leaves we are going to get soon. By the way, does composting attract animals, bugs, rats? snakes? I mean it is garbage so just curious, thanks for everything you do, Love it, and your cameraman is awesome !

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