Question: Could you please discuss the merits of putting weeds in the compost pile.
Answer: The building of an efficient compost pile begins with a 6-inch layer of organic matter, thoroughly wetted, sprinkled with enough all-purpose fertilizer and lime to cover it evenly, and topped with a 3- to 4-inch-deep layer of garden soil. Repeat this layering until the pile is 4 to 6 feet high, each layers sloping inward with a concave surface to catch water. The pile requires considerable depth – sufficient body- to start the heating and breakdown process. Keep the organic matter saturated with water, but avoid excesses that will leach out soluble fertilizer and nutrients. Turn over the pile once or twice to insure even decomposition. Temperatures achieved during the composting will rise to 150 to 175 degrees; at these temperatures most weed seeds and plant disease organisms will be destroyed. The resulting compost in the garden, combined with good mulching practices, some judicious hand-weeding, and a good spray or dust program should result in few weed or disease problems.
Do not use woody plant materials in this pile, for they are too slow decomposing. A separate area should be set aside for these.