You don't have to stop composting during the winter just because it's cold! For those who compost indoors or certain climates, this one's a no-brainer. But for those who compost outside during the winter, things can get a bit tricky. We've got some tips.
During the winter, when it's cold and dreary outside and the sun doesn't shine for weeks at a time, you need to prevent your compost from getting too cold. If it does, the microorganisms and/or worms won't be able to get the job done. The two options for continuing your compost throughout the cold months are either:
- Taking your compost inside with an indoor composter.
- Insulating your existing compost bin from the elements.
A key requirement to winter composting is to prevent your pile from freezing. A couple ideas for keeping your compost warm during the winter:
- Insulate your bin with straw or cardboard. Stack hay bales around your bin or strap several layers or cardboard around the perimeter to provide insulation and prevent freezing.
- Cover with plastic (with holes in it) to keep heat and moisture in.
- Put your compost bin in a pit and use the earth as an insulator. By digging a hole a couple feet deep and either using as a compost bin or placing your bin inside, it will stay warmer.
One great thing about the winter months is that you can turn your vegetable garden into a composting area. By using it as a composting site (and covering with plastic to insulate) you can have your beds ready for spring with less effort.
First photo via Solylunafamilia's Flickr photostream; Second photo via Mickki's Flickr Stream.