compost is an essential ingredient for every step of the bio intensive method we sift compost into the soil after we double dig compost is mixed with the soil in our seedling flats and we transplant the mature seedlings into the compost fortified double duck bed this is the same soil we’ve took out of the double dug bed got a half bucket of soil here and we’re going to use this to form a compost pile in this section we’re going to show how you can build your own compost pile compost improves the structure of the soil making it easier to work and easier for it to hold water in oxygen plants will grow faster and composted soil and are healthier and more robust the compost pile will consist of alternating layers of dry and green organic matter harvested from your garden you can also add scraps from your kitchen to the pile so here we are we’ve got our site picked out we’ve cleared away some of the weeds we’ve got a nice flat area and we need at least 3 feet by 3 feet this one’s going to be 4 feet by 4 feet have enough mass in the compost pile we’ve got our soil from our double dog bed and we’ve picked out some steaks some wooden stakes that we’ll use to mark the borders so that we can build a compost pile nice and high Tim begins by marking the space with a single wooden stake we’ve marked our space and what we’re going to do is loosen the soil all for the entire space underneath the compost pile and that way the compost pile can breathe as you work remember to be patient with the soil and with your body let the technique and the movement do your work for you so just like our double digging it’s much more effective to keep this leg nice and straight when we’re coming in a compost pile needs a lot of water as you build it up layer by layer so if your water supply is it all limited don’t waste any of it by moistening the ground at this stage notice that as Tim clears the area he uses one of the stakes to measure and mark the perimeter of the pile all right we have finished preparing the bottom of the compost pile so it can breathe properly there are some rocks in there but that’s okay so what’s next we’re going to take some roughage and put a nice layer on the bottom of the pile here are our pieces of roughage we’re going to just lay these nicely down in the bottom of the pile and what this is doing is going to give us a nice place for air to come up through the bottom so that we have lots of oxygen going into the pile so these are the small branches we could use anything really sunflower stalks corn husks trimmings from a shrub or Bush that has really woody material all right any dry or woody material can be used as roughage Tim gathers dry corn stalks to add to the twigs and branches that have already been laid down the roughage that is placed at the base creates a foundation for the pile the goal with a foundation layer is to provide a porous filter that separates the decomposing organic material above from the microbe rich soil below once tim has placed the layer of roughage down as a foundation he hammers in the rest of the stakes these mark the border of the pile so we’ve got our layer of roughage and we’ve got our stakes so we’re mapped out and we’re ready to water give this a nice good soak and the water is beneficial for the whole pile as well as the microbes underneath in the soil so will give us a nice good soaking before we do anything else if your water supply is limited you can skip watering this foundation layer remember you’ll water each layer as you build up the pile in the next stage of the process composting requires a lot of organic material harvested directly from your garden earlier in the day John and Tim collected several wheelbarrows full of alfalfa that Tim will now use first compost pile and while Tim finishes watering the roughage foundation Jon gathers previously harvested dry mature crops this is wheat straw a variety of crops increases the microbial diversity and reduces the likelihood of plant disease we are ready for the next step in our composting process we’ve got our roughage down our corn stalks we’re going to add some layers to this whole pile over here we have some material that’s been harvested at its maturity and if you come over here I’ve got some great alfalfa some immature material that will add on top of that we’re going to water the whole thing the compost pile requires multiple layers of mature dry crops interleaved with immature green crops and soil from a double dog bed let’s talk about the layers of the pile I have here more dry material which is our carbon this is where the structure of the pile will come from and give it longevity this stuff is the green stuff this is full of sugars and has nitrogen and this will actually QuickStart the pile and give it overall energy those two in combination will make our perfect layered pile you