Follow these tips for winter composting from Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Just because the temperatures are starting to cool down doesn’t mean your compost pile needs to slow down. Even in the winter you’ll still produce kitchen scraps. With these tips from Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can keep your compost pile active through winter and be ready for spring.
Benefits of Winter Composting
Keeping your compost pile active through winter can help produce fertilizer for the spring. If you have a greenhouse, the compost can actually act as a secondary heat source. In order to continue composting through the winter, there are a few things you’ll need to do to get ready.
How to Keep Your Compost Pile Active
Add Shelter – To keep your compost pile warm and safe from the cold elements, you’ll need to build a shelter. There are plenty of ways to build a shelter using plywood, sandbags, tarps and cinderblocks. As long as the interior of the compost pile stays heated, it will continue to actively decompose.
Keep it Dry – Compost piles should be kept moist. However, winter snow and rain can drench the pile, killing any helpful bacteria in the pore spaces of the compost pile. It’s best to add a roof over the compost pile during the cold and wet months. You can build a roof or stake down a tarp over the pile. This not only keeps the wet out, but keeps the internal heat in.
Add Brown and Green Materials – Carbon-rich brown materials include sawdust, house plants, dried grass clippings, straw and paper. You’ll want to layer brown materials with nitrogen-rich green materials, such as vegetables, fruits, fresh grass clippings and coffee grounds. In the winter you’ll want to add more brown materials, which help continue decomposition during the colder temperatures. Try to minimize green materials, or shred them down. Keeping the green matter small can help insulate the pile and evenly heat it.
With your own compost pile, you have access to homemade mulch and fertilizer. For more tips on getting started and caring for your compost pile, read through our composting articles in our gardening blog.