Are there any sound methods that will allow my compost heap to stay aerated without me having to turn it?

I realize that if left alone, it will still compost, but I would still like to speed up the process by having a way for it to stay aerated.

I'm making quite a bit of compost, and am not interested in an elevated turning mechanism. I want it to be as low tech as possible.

3 Answers 3


My wife loves and grows sunflowers lots of them. I use the stocks (they are hollow) as layers in our pile. Kinda like the pvc answer below/above but without the plastic and you can make sunflower seeds! Often I incorporate poking the pile with a stick to introduce more air as I do not wish/want to turn it. This works great so far.


Turning compost is somewhat controversial. Conventional wisdom says turning is required, while Joe Jenkins cites research that find that turning is slightly detrimental.

I did a little googling and found that idea that if you include coarse material, like straw, the pile is self-aerating, so turning is unnecessary.

Also, it helps if the compost is not overwet: too much water will block the flow of air. (Not too dry, either, as bacteria needs water to swim in to get around!)

You can speed compost by keep it warm. Lining the sides with old carpet or straw, and putting a layer of straw over the top, will help it retain heat.


I'm using a compost box made of plastic. The dimensions are about 1m x 1m and 1.4m high. It's walls have holes in them and because it's rather tall it's aerated to my satisfaction.

The process of composting produces heat and that's why its tall structure causes stack effect and almost ALL the volume is aerated, not only the sides. You can build a wooden alternative but I'd doubt it's stack effect.

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I'm moving grass from a 300m2 lot plus small garden and kitchen leftovers and one such box is enough. I haven't filled it up fully in a year and I've not taken the product yet.

Not important from a sustainability point of view, but having a green box on your property looks much better than a pile of "unorder" and takes less space.

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