This is step 3 in our Start Apartment Composting series. If you’re new here, see the original composting post. For all you already composting (through this series or otherwise), “Maintaining your Compost Pile” gives you the know-how for what you do as time goes on with your compost pile. This is probably the easiest step, so don’t fear - just read on!

You’re doing great! You have a container to hold your compost and you’re adding brown and green materials as you come across them. Now’s the easy part, because your compost pile will do pretty much everything else for you! All it needs is a little weekly maintenance, following the pointers below. Don’t forget, as long as you leave a little room in the top of your container for air to circulate, you can still add materials at any time.

Weekly Maintenance
Either as you add materials or on a set day each week (say, the day you clean the kitchen, if it’s in the kitchen windowsill), you’ll want to see how things are going and nudge it along in its composting. Here’s what to do:
* Stir or “toss” the pile, perhaps with a small hand shovel, to work air into it.
* Water it if it seems dry.
* If your pile is cold (composting piles should feel warm when you put your hand over them, especially after stirring the pile), add more green material.
* If your pile stinks (it happens, but you can prevent it), add more brown material.
* If you notice worms or white fungus - do nothing! These guys are great composting assistants.

That’s it! Really! Just keep adding, keep maintaining, and when you realize that your pile (or a lot of it) has become dark, soft, and earthy-smelling, you’re ready for Step 4.

...and you?

How’s your compost pile doing? Are you finding composting (whether you’re using SimpleMakes how-to’s or you’ve been doing this for years) easier or more challenging than you expected? Are you glad you’re doing it?

Don’t forget to add your composting photos (with a link to this a post in this series in the photo description or comments) to our flickr group... and, as always, photos with Creative Commons licensing may be featured in future articles with a link to any of your websites you’d like to promote!