Compost piles will eat almost any kind of organic matter (legumes, leaves, plant residues, hay, MANURE, etc). When deciding a location for a compost pile, keep in mind the amount of sunlight it receives – you don’t want it to dry out. Aeration is an important factor in compost as well. Too much aeration can lead to drying out before it decomposes, but on the other hand, poorly aerated compost gives off a foul odor and decreases the quality. The proper amount of water and air is also necessary in maintaining healthy compost. Moisture is required for microbial activity, and although microbial activity will continue without adequate oxygen levels, the end product is not ideal.