Illustration: Damien Scogin

Build a Compost Pile

You can make an effective compost pile with just one item from the hardware store. Buy a 4-foot-wide piece of 12- to 14-gauge wire fencing. Bend it into a cylinder about 4 feet in diameter. Wire together the cut edges.

Fill the cylinder with alternating layers of brown matter (such as dried leaves and wood chips) and green matter (such as grass clippings). Keep the pile as moist as a wrung-out sponge, and aerate it every week or so by lifting the cylinder and moving it to one side, and then forking materials back into it. Compost is ready when it's brown and crumbly (this could take a few months in cooler weather).

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