I just wanted to share a tip for heating up your compost pile quickly. This time of year it can take longer for the compost to heat up (and the faster it heats up, the quicker it decomposes). I don't know about you, but I never seem to have enough compost. However, when I want to give the pile a boost, I've found that adding fresh grass clippings, and mixing them in well, gets the pile hot very quickly. I live in the suburbs, and use a Compost Tumbler. I compost weeds, food scraps, leaves, grass clippings, and shredded newspaper. Our temps have been in the mid and low 60's all week, and the pile I started several weeks ago wasn't heating up the way I wanted it to. One day after adding several bags of fresh lawn clippings the pile was steaming hot. In the cooler fall (and spring) temperatures this is a good way to speed up the process. I also turn the bin every few days, as well as fluffing it with a pitch fork. This helps break up the material and evenly incorporate everything. Before the snow flies I plan to spread the compost on the garden, then cover this with more grass and leaf clippings. By spring everything will have decomposed completely and will be ready to be worked into the soil. I'll probably start another pile before winter, and just let it sit until spring.
-Michelle of CreativeCritters