For domestic gardeners, there are two primary directions to take your compost heap:
Hot or active composting
Compost heaps like this are made quickly. The process here means that your compost will reach a much higher temperature through an accelerated process of decay. For best results, build the heap all at once with a lot of green material before covering, then turn the compost when you sense it has cooled. Cover and repeat. With proper care and attention, if you can keep your compost hot enough, the composting process can be completed within one to three months.
This type of compost is exceptional for sowing seeds, with the high temperatures involved in the process destroying any seeds, meaning a weed-free and nutrient-rich soil for your garden.
Cold or passive composting
A more traditional approach to making compost, this ongoing process is where gardeners will add organic material to their heaps continually throughout the year. This means that decomposition takes place much slower than in hot compost heaps. This process requires more frequent turning of the compost and high-quality compost won’t develop for months.
Due to the lack of significant heat in this process, the compost is prone to seedlings sprouting. It’s not recommended for flowerbeds or places where you intend to cultivate specific plants. Weeds and other invasive species will sprout rapidly.