Hello, I have only been here a couple days and all I have read has led me to think I am a lazy gardener. I do not used raised beds. just till into the ground and plant in rows and I put very little thought or effort into my compost pile. Growing up it was just that, a pile in the corner of our garden. It was where we threw all the weeds from "weeding". We threw a few coffee gounds in, apple cores and other things my dad would tell us to "just throw it on the compost pile". We (four boys) would use it for an easy place to pee and well that was it.
Today I put four pallet up to make a square and I throw my weeds from the garden in there. A few coffee gounds, egg shells and kitchen scraps from trimming veggies. (ok and maybe I still pee on it now and then for convenience but..) I do not turn it, watch it, monitor it, check heat or anything. Just thow stuff in and forget it. It is a waste bin for weeds apple cores etc. Come spring I take one side off and start shoveling it out. The top layer is still plants and such so I shovel from the bottom, to the garden. the top layer stuff I push to the side. after I get most of the good black stuff out, I shove the top layer stuff back in and put the side back on. Start over for another year.
Yes just one load a year in the spring and I till that in before planting. No meat!!! no manure no going out to get anything for the pile. Maybe a few fish guts wrapped in newspaper. (those guts stink up the kitchen garbage and do not hurt the compost pile at all).
Now, what I understand: the lack of heat does not kill the weed seeds so next year those seeds will germinate and cause more weeds in my garden. well, ok if not those weeds some weeds, the wind blows and I have no illusions of ever having a weed free garden. And without weeds what would I put in my compost pile? The dirt clinging to the roots of my pulled weeds goes into the pile with the weeds taking micro organisims etc. needed to break the weeds down into compost. A little pee now and then add nitrogen.
My kitchen garbage does not smell as bad because I do not have rotting fruit (also no fruit flys in the house), fish guts and other veggies rotting in my garbage. Not bringing things/manure to my pile keeps new weeds from showing up in my garden. (true story, a guy I knew got some free horse manure for his compost pile. The next year he had a new weed in his garden. He did not like the new weed because the stem broke easily and so the roots were never pulled up with the weed. in a couple years it was THE weed in his garden. in fact it was the plant in his garden. he hated that plant whatever it was.) so better the devil I know.....
Finally, PIGS!! I love pigs. I used to have pigs, chickens and a couple calves. I threw old hay, stray, garden weeds, grass clippings, the manure and shaving from the chickens and calves into the pig pen. Pigs love composting!! (there was a lot of old hay percentage wise) The pigs turned, slept on and converted all my barn sweepings and manure into great compost. Come winter the pigs left, I cleaned out the pen right into my garden and it was ready for new pigs the next year.
If you have read this far you can see there is a lot happening but I am not doing much of it. Put up four pallets, throw weeds and scraps in for a year (I gotta put them somewhere) once a year take one side off, put the good stuff on the garden and put the side back on. Throw my barn cleaning stuff in with the pigs (gotta put it somewhere) and once a year clean the pen out, put it on the garden and ready for new pigs. Cycles, they work without me.
Most often people spend money and effort to disprupt cycles. I just stand back and stay out of the way. Oh I leave my grass clipping on my yard. They get chopped up with mowing and well break down into compost for the grass in my yard (I know kind of canibalistic feeding my grass grass but..lol) The natural cycles of our planet do wonderous things, even without our help. So... I am patient and lazy. KIS