How to Compost in Winter
Can You Compost In Winter Unlike the summer, when composting is easy, it’s harder to compost in winter.Composting in the winter requires the use of special materials, including soft green material such as grass clippings, old carpet, and woody pruning’s. These materials must be well mixed, and a big cover should be added to prevent over wetness. The secret to perfect compost lies in getting the right ingredients well mixed and layered.
Avoid woody twigs
When composting in winter, you should avoid using woody twigs and branches because these materials take a long time to decompose. Instead, try using green plant materials. These materials contain plenty of nitrogen. Woody plant materials tend to be low in nitrogen, while green plant materials are high in nitrogen. Ideally, you should use an equal mix of green and dried plant materials. When green materials are scarce, you can also add plant fertilizer that is high in nitrogen.
Avoid adding grease
When composting, you must remember to avoid adding any grease or meat to your pile. This will slow down the decomposition process. Instead, add some brown matter to the pile, which will insulate it. During the winter, it will decompose slowly, but once spring arrives, the pile will begin to decompose quickly.
During the winter, your compost heap will become very dry. The low humidity and winter winds can cause your pile to dry out quickly. To avoid this, you must add plenty of green kitchen scraps. You can also add high-nitrogen amendments to the pile to keep the temperatures and microbe activity high. When the springtime comes, your pile will begin to smell and get slimy. If you are composting during this time, you can continue to add brown material to your pile.
Avoid adding oils
Adding cooking oils to your compost pile can create a smelly mess. It also reduces air flow and slows down the decomposition process. It is best to avoid oils altogether or to add them in small quantities. Oils are much harder to break down than other ingredients in compost. It is also important to avoid spreading oil on your compost pile as this may attract pests.
Adding hot oils to your compost pile may be helpful for some purposes, like warding off rodents and insects. In addition, they promote the growth of thermophilic bacteria, which thrive in warm weather and are efficient decomposers. You can add plant-based oils to your pile, such as coconut oil, olive oil, and corn oil.
While all organic material is comfortable, oils are more difficult to break down. This is one of the reasons why many people advise against adding oil to your compost pile. The average home compost pile does not reach the temperature necessary for oil to break down. It also attracts smells and rodents and reduces the air flow in your compost pile, which can threaten the decomposition process.
Avoid adding animal products
When making a compost pile, you should avoid adding meat and other animal products. These items can contain bacteria that are harmful to plants. The bacteria will multiply and can even make people sick if the meat is not composted properly. The best thing to do is to compost your meat in a separate pile.
Meat and dairy products are biodegradable, but they can attract unwanted pests. In addition, adding meat scraps can cause the pile to smell rotting. This is even more important in colder climates where food is often stored for long periods. Even if you do not use meat, dairy products and baked goods can attract pests and wild animals.
While it is okay to add some vegetable matter to your compost, you should avoid adding meat and animal products. Even though they are compostable, they don’t break down as quickly as green materials. Adding animal products and kitty litter can slow down the process of composting. Cooking oil, meanwhile, is a good choice as it can be composted and reused for another batch. Moreover, bacon grease can be saved in a sealed container and used for another batch.
Layer greens and browns in compost piles
Layering greens and browns in compost piles during winter is important to ensure the most effective composting. Compost piles that consist of only greens often stink in the spring and may not be ready to be turned when the spring thaw comes. If you’re adding greens and browns during winter, make sure you turn the pile regularly to help improve drainage and air flow. Also, shred your browns and greens to increase surface area for decomposition.
To prepare for winter composting, create a pile from organic materials and alternate greens and browns. Place garden soil around the pile and sprinkle with enough water to moisten the pile. Do not overwater the pile; too much water will result in a foul smell and slow decomposition.
In winter, you may have difficulty finding brown materials for composting. Instead of dumping the dried leaf harvest into the compost bin, consider using cardboard, newspaper, toilet-paper rolls, and paper towels as good compost browns. The more you know about composting at home, the easier it will be.
Insulate bin to keep worms alive
In order to protect worms during the winter months, you can put in extra insulation inside your compost bin. This can come in the form of old socks, vacuum cleaner bags, or even sheep’s wool. In addition, you can add pieces of cardboard or Styrofoam to the bin. However, you should make sure that you do not cover the bin’s drainage holes for long periods. Even though this will help keep the bin warmer, it will also cause the compost to become wetter and more dangerous to the worms. Also, be sure to place your bin in a sheltered location, where you will not need to open the bin for long periods of time.
Worm activity will slow down as the temperature drops. As a result, they are in danger of succumbing to the cold. To keep them warm, they will burrow toward the warmer parts of the bin. Fortunately, decomposition produces heat and the warmer your bin is, the more likely your worms will survive.
When winter sets in, you will have to be extra careful when choosing where to place your worm bin. A basement is a good location for an indoor worm composter, but a basement is usually quite cold, so it is essential to make sure it gets enough ventilation. Another good option is to place it in a room with plenty of doors and windows, such as a sun room or screened porch.
Calculate carbon to nitrogen ratio
If you want to compost in the winter, it’s important to calculate the carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N) of your materials. It’s a good idea to aim for a 30:1 ratio. This ratio is ideal for microorganisms as it provides them with both energy and nitrogen. The University of Missouri offers a handy C:N ratio chart to help you get an idea of the proper ratio for your materials. Following these guidelines will result in properly composted materials even during the coldest part of the year.
Carbon and nitrogen contents of materials differ depending on their composition. Typically, a composting pile should have equal amounts of green and brown materials. While you should try to balance the ratio, you can also use some extras. For example, a mixture of 50% green and 50% brown materials is a good mix for the first few weeks. While some people argue that more green material is better, many composters use this ratio with no problems. The key is to watch the ratio and make sure the bacteria and fungi are happy.
A compost pile that has too much nitrogen content will become anaerobic, generating ammonia-like compounds. To avoid this problem, add more material to the pile to increase the carbon to nitrogen ratio.