Open Air Composting: Step By Step Guide

Open Air Composting: Step By Step Guide

Open Air Composting is a system that uses naturally occurring microbes that feed on organic material and make use of oxygen. By feeding on the garden waste, the microbes get to break down the material and convert it into compost. This system is not suitable for food waste as the process required to deal with food were needs to be performed in an enclosed vessel rather than open air.

In open-air composting, composting elements are required most especially elements like a combination of carbon and nitrogen, e.t.c. Open-air composting requires monitoring, watering, turning, and spreading.

1) How to Compost using Open Air Composing Method

First of all, take note of the fact that open-air composting is not suitable for food waste. This is due to the fact that the process needed to deal with food waste needs to be done in an enclosed vessel rather than it being done in the open air.

To compost using the open-air composting method, organic garden waste such as grass clippings, leaves, twigs, e.t.c can be used. These materials are delivered, sorted to eliminate incorrect materials and then, shredded.

Afterward, the shredded materials are piled into long rows in the open air. From there, naturally occurring microbes feed on them thus, creating heat and windows which will often give off steam. The rows are to be turned regularly to ensure that there is adequate oxygen for the microbes to function.

2) Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Air Composting

Advantages of Open Air Composting

  1. Open air composting is very ideal for farmers who have lots of green waste to mulch with farm animal excrement
  2. Open air piles are excellent for chooks to forage and catch food
  3. Open air composting is a great system as long as you have the time to monitor
  4. It is less costly

Disadvantages of Open Air Composting

Open-air composting attracts worms but some worms attracted can leave if the conditions are unsuitable for them.

Just like how pH is important, the temperature is also a very important factor. If the required temperature is not reached, it won’t decompose or perhaps, may end up becoming a big mess.

Due to the warm conditions, both snakes and rats can nest and breed in these systems. It requires regular turning for aeration.

Large amounts of green waste are needed to get only a small amount of usable compost. If filled with the wrong materials, they can give an offensive smell i.e odor. The same thing happens when there is no turning of the compost.f

Open-air composting requires spreading around your garden and consumes a great amount of space in the garden.


Open-air composting is also known as Open Air Window composting (OAW). It is an oxidative system and it requires the use of naturally occurring microbes to obtain compost. The process usually requires about 12 – 16 weeks after which it is checked to ensure that it meets the required quality standard. You can also learn more about anaerobic composting processes here.