Don’t Let Cold Weather Stop You Composting
The circle of life begins by feeding the earth. Then, it feeds you.
And, the best way I’ve found to keep Mother Earth healthy is to give her what she needs … thats the goodness that comes from compost.
And, one of those ingredients for compost is the affect of snow.
Yes, cold weather slows down the decomposition process. But it doesn’t halt it completely. Some action continues but at a slower pace. Yes, bacteria, mold, and mites can survive the cold.
Though winter composting is a very gradual process, an infusion of fresh composting matter will give a sleepy compost heap new energy.
How To Compost In Winter:
1. Continue making compost by layering “browns” and “greens”.
The optimum ratio of “browns” to “greens” is 2 : 1.
For “dry browns” you can use leaves, twigs, and dead plants from the garden.
Some other items you can use: pine needles, wood chips, ashes, shredded corn stalks straw, sawdust, peanut shells. Your pets hair can go into the pile too.
Layer “greens” (kitchen compost, fresh garden waste) with browns. This ensures the right ratio of carbon to nitrogen. Eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags, and vegetable and fruit peelings can be converted to compost.
2. Maintain a compost pail.
To reduce your cold winter trips to the composter, use an empty trash can to place your kitchen scraps in.
Make one if you don’t have on. Drill about 2 dozen 1- inch holes into the sides. Cut a sleeve of scrap screen to slip down into the sides of the can (the sleeve should cover all the holes)..
3. Insulate your composting bin or build a wind break.
If you find yourself with an overabundance of leaves, pile them on. As you produce greens( kitchen compost) over the winter, tuck them in under the insulating layer
You can provide extra insulation by surrounding your bin with black bags of leaves or straw/hay bales. Or, try creating a windbreak with a tarp.
4. Reduce particle size of browns and greens.
The smaller the pieces, the faster they will compost
5. Keep it damp.
Winter wind and low humidity can dry out your compost. Add some water to keep those microbes alive.
6. Don’t turn the pile.
The layers of brown and green act like blankets to keep the heat in. Save turning for spring and summer.
Home composting is a fun activity that will give benefits to both the environment and your pocketbook. Homemade compost is the best material you can use to improve your soil and feed your plants.
Here’s My Grandparents’ Backyard Composting:
Yes, composting doesn’t need to be a fancy or labor intensive process if you use the method of my grandparents.
It’s easy. Dig a trench to about a spade’s depth. Put the soil to one side. Add kitchen waste from your kitchen composter to the trench and cover it with the soil.
Once the trench is full, cap it off with the rest of the soil and leave it to settle.
By spring, you’ll have rich planting holes that give your crops a real advantage.
Happy gardening with another episode to come.
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Yours truly for a great garden with outstanding veggies and flowers.