A young man tends to a flower garden.

In this interview, Robert Pavlis, author of Compost Science for Gardeners, answers some interesting questions about composting, including a question that was asked by a reader on social media.

Which composting method is best?

There is no “best” method. The book helps you understand the pros and cons of each method, and then helps you select the best one for your goals and situation.

Compost bin and plants in planters with soil sit on a countertop with a half-peeled potato and cucumber. The skins are sitting beside them on a cutting board.

How well do rotary bins work?

These are containers that keep the material inside so it can compost. The drums can be rotated to add extra air and mix the material. These are discussed in the book.

Do you need to add an activator to a compost pile?

No. The microbes in activators do nothing. They do add some nitrogen which can be helpful if you don’t add enough greens to the mix.

I’m curious if there are vastly different methodologies for warm vs cool climates?

The methods don’t change a lot with climate, except that hot composting is much easier in a hot climate and can be done most months of the year. The book does discuss tricks northerners can use to keep their pile warm.

A Compost Happens sign sits on an older white wooden fence in the snow.

About the Author

Robert Pavlis is the owner and developer of Aspen Grove Gardens, a 6-acre botanical garden with 3,000 varieties of plants. Specializing in soil science, Robert has been an instructor for Landscape Ontario. He is a blogger, a chemist, and the author of Soil Science for Gardeners and Building Natural Ponds. He resides in Guelph, Canada.

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