Composting in Winter

compost-slideMost avid gardeners agree a compost pile is a must have in the yard. It turns your would-be waste into nutrient rich ready to use soil. But to have it ready in spring means you need to work on it in the winter. Around here winter means freezing weather, which isn’t conducive to creating finished compost.
This spring we added Good Ideas Compost Wizard Compost Boost to our compost bin to get the microbes started again. After adding it we saw a noticeable difference in the rate our added food scraps were breaking down. But now that the weather has turned cold again I’m looking for ways to keep this compost action going. Here’s what others are saying:

  • Insulate your compost pile. There are several ways to do this – try placing straw bales around your bin, keep it in a sunny location, or you can even dig a hole in the ground to place part or all of your compost in.
  • Pay closer attention to the carbon-nitrogen mix. Save a pile of leaves in the fall to use in the winter. As you add a bucket of kitchen scraps to the pile put a layer of leaves on too.
  • Save a bucket full of scraps before dumping them on the pile. This not only saves you trips outside in the cold, but will lower the number of times you open the compost lid, which will hopefully keep the compost warmer. If you really want to add some ‘heat’ to the pile try adding things like horse or rabbit manure (just be sure it completely breaks down before using it in the garden).

Using these tips will not guarantee you will have a completely finished compost pile by spring, but you should have at least a partially finished pile, and once the weather turns warm it won’t be long til everything is finished.

Of course if you really don’t want to deal with taking scraps to a compost pile in the winter, you can always try vermicomposting. Worms can create their weight in castings every day, which means by spring you will have a bin full of ready to use castings. Whichever method you use I hope you give composting a try this winter. You might be surprised how easy and rewarding it is :)

Sources:
Gardens Alive
Organic Gardening
Compost Guy
Gaiam- Composting