I just built a compost pile on top of swamp dirt on the edge of the yard after digging up all the grass, and went into the woods to find dead rotted wood to inoculate the compost pile with, then piled grass clippings on top of it.

Is that the correct way to build a compost pile if you have the energy, and don't want to spend a lot of money?

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    Plain old dirt will do fine as far as inoculating. If budget is an issue, just clear an area and have a compost pile (don't need a bin), and make sure you spend time turning and mixing it on a frequent basis, and stop adding to it at some point and start a second pile so your first one can finish. You want to make sure you have a good mix of high carbon (like leaves) and nitrogen ("green" substances). Sep 23, 2016 at 15:44

2 Answers 2


The correct way to build a compost pile is unrelated to physical energy, and cost.

Decomposition occurs naturally in nature.

The bacteria that compost organic matter in a pile are derived from the air, and differ from the fungi that compost rotting wood.

If you want to accelerate the composting by using materials from the forest, you could find composting leaves, dirt from your forest floor, and layer that between each layer of mature, and immature vegetation.


Perhaps one of the best ways to inoculate and feed your compost pile is to urinate on it. I know this may seem distasteful, but the free nitrogen in the urine really helps the nitrification cycle kickstart.

Water the pile, turn it over and water it again so the wet throughout, and so that your Browns and greens are mixed well.

  • If you are interested in using the compost for a specific application - say on blueberries - it can be useful to inoculate the compost pile with mycorrhizae from and area where the blueberries grow well. This is particularly helpful if you will be using the compost when planting new blueberries. In theory this would work for many different plants.
    – That Idiot
    Jun 21, 2016 at 20:28
  • That's a way to boost a slow pile by adding nitrogen, but that doesn't "inoculate" it because urine is, relatively speaking, sterile. The bacteria that drives the decomposition process can be added by just adding dirt, or, better yet, some leftover compost from a fully composted batch. Sep 23, 2016 at 15:42

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