1. Choose a 4-foot by 8-foot area, preferably shaded, where water does not collect when it rains.
  2. Cover half the area with a 6-inch layer of leaves. Water thoroughly.
  3. Add a 2-inch layer of grass clippings and/or fruit and vegetable scraps and a dash of soil.
  4. Mix this layer into the layer below it using a hoe or a cultivator. Water thoroughly.
  5. Top with a 2-inch layer of leaves.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 as ingredients are available. (Note: The top layer of the completed pile should be at least 4 inches of leaves covering all food materials. Build pile to 3 feet high as soon as you can.)
  7. Turn the whole pile over with a hay fork or shovel every 2 to 3 weeks, adding water as needed to make the whole pile moist (similar to a wrung-out sponge).
  8. Compost is well done when most of the original ingredients have broken down and when it smells like rich soil.

Prepared in cooperation with the Texas Cooperative Extension Tarrant County Office.