Green Tip: Composting During the Winter

Green Tip: Composting During the Winter

Trent Johnson
Dec 2, 2009

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:

  1. Taking your compost inside with an indoor composter.
  2. 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.

Other Resources:

First photo via Solylunafamilia's Flickr photostream; Second photo via Mickki's Flickr Stream.

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