The Q&A Archives: Vents For Compost Pile

Question: I was told that a good way to help a compost pile "do its thing" is to sink tubes (such as small pvc piping with holes drilled in it) into the pile, thereby letting air into the center of the pile. I can't find any reference that says this is a good or bad idea. Will this help aerate the pile or just dissipate the heat generated at the center? Is this an accepted composting method? Thanks!

Answer: Yes, the pipes are occasionally used. Composting probably has as many techniques as there are compost operators, so there are many suggestions for how to do it better or faster or simpler or with less work. If you turn your compost pile regularly to aerate it, and if it is moistened correctly to be like a wrung out sponge, and if you have used a good mix of varied ingredients, then the tubes aren't really needed because aeration is not a particular concern. Most home piles are on the small side (and incidentally don't heat all that much anyway) so the aeration/moisture problems would be even less likely to be a problem than it might in a larger scale operation. However, you could always experiment and see if it works for you.

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