Organic gardeners know the value of compost: it's the engine that drives the organic garden. I have three compost bins, which I've used for more than 15 years. However, over the past couple of years (since I got a bagging mower), I've been building a regular compost pile out in back of the wood pile, and have discovered that it's less work than the bins and yields a large amount of the essential ingredient--organic matter in various stages of decomposition. Actually, the pay dirt, if you will, is located at the bottom of the pile, so you have to excavate it out of there every year. This involves basically moving everything that sits on top of the good stuff into a new location, where it will form the basis for next year's mulch. In this pic, the good compost is down at the bottom of the pile--the dark area behind the shovel head. Note that I sift everything through an old steel milk crate lined with chicken wire to get compost of even consistency. Anything that won't go through the wire (black walnuts, avacado pits, clam shells, small sticks, stones [ I know], etc.) gets thrown back onto the pile for more time to decay. The usable compost is mostly a decomposed mixture of grass clippings, raked leaves and pine needles, kitchen scraps, weeds and other dead plants from the garden and yard.