Composting During Winter Months
It's never too early to start thinking about spring planting! Whether you are located in the mountains and dealing with 3 feet of snow, or sitting beachside enjoying mild 65 degree weather, winter is the time to start dreaming, thinking and preparing.
In this post, we will discuss the benefits of nutrient rich compost and provide options to get started on making your own -- regardless of your current climate.
To set your garden up for maximum success this growing season, it's critical to provide a fresh infusion of nutrient-rich organic matter. While bagged and store bought compost has some value, nothing compares to fresh and locally sourced compost prepared in your backyard or home!
Compost is proven to provide the following benefits to your garden, among others:
- Reduces need for chemical and synthetic fertilizer
- Helps suppress plant diseases and pests
- Encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that feed your garden
- Improves soil drainage and helps soil retain moisture
- Provides rich and organic nutrients directly to your plants' roots
As you can see, compost allows your garden to function the way nature intended it! It's possible to have healthy soil and plants without adding chemicals, store bought fertilizers, and more.
Better yet, when you compost at home, there are additional benefits that extend well beyond your garden. Composting at home:
- is much less expensive and creates a reproducible process
- creates a more nutrient-rich additive for your garden
- gives you more control over the content of your compost
- provides a continuous supply of compost
- reduces your waste and lowers your carbon footprint!
It's also a lot of fun to learn and watch natural forces turn waste into liquid and solid gold for your plants!
For many across the United States, gardening and winter are not compatible. This renders traditional outdoor compost pile useless, as wintertime cold and precipitation can produce a soggy, damp, and sometimes frozen pile.
Luckily, there are options that are immune to the cold, or at minimum portable enough to be selectively placed as the weather changes! Let's look at the options, along with the best fits for each climate.
For our friends in colder climates, indoor composting is the only solution during the coldest winter months. While this limits the options, it's not an impossible task.
The Compostology 24-10 is a compact, automated composting system that relies on microbes, heat and rotation to convert up to 10 pounds of food waste into rich compost in just 24 hours. That is a lot of compost.
With nano-filter deodorization, the unit is odor-free, making it a suitable solution in your kitchen, laundry room, or temperature controlled garage.
Just empty your leftovers directly into the unit, and voila, you'll have rich compost the next day!
Across much of the country, winter brings waves of cold and freezing temperatures, but days are generally mild and frost free. Composting outdoors, though not permanently, is still a realistic option.
The Hungry Bin is a portable and simple solution that will still allow you to compost with worms in such conditions.
With a two-wheeled design, the Hungry Bin can be wheeled around the yard or moved into your garage during the colder stretches. The ideal temperature for composting is between 60-80 °F, so the portability is critical to keep your compost thriving and alive.
If your bins must remain outdoors during the winter months, it's best to avoid opening the lid until the weather warms, keeping the warmth inside.
If winter is full of warmth and sunshine, your options are wide open. You can compost indoors, with a portable solution, or pick among the other options available to you.
A traditional compost pile is certainly an option. But a number of solutions exist to simplify, organize, and maximize your efforts.
The Aerobin 400 Insulated Composter is a great hybrid option! While it is stationary and cannot easily be moved, it is double-wall insulated with polystyrene to combat colder weather!
The unique self aeration lung design also means that no turning or agitation is needed, reducing maintenance on your composter.
Another option is the Aeroplus 6000 3-Stage Compost Bin, a multi-stage vertical composter with a compact design. This unit provides little protection against cold weather, but this innovative system provides continuous composting action.
This composter is durable, super strong, and has a large capacity, holding up to 22 cubic feet.
If your compost is ready well in advance of gardening season, there are options to store the compost while you wait. Any container you use should allow some fresh air to enter. This will keep microbes happy, as they continue to thrive in the soil.
Choose a location out of the rain and coldest temperatures. Plastic bags, plastic bins, trash cans, plastic plant containers -- these are all viable options for storing compost.
But while storing compost is an effective solution, it is not a permanent one. Use compost within 3-6 months for best results.
Get Started Today
We've outlined a number of options for composting during winter, depending on the specific needs and weather conditions in your area.
If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact our gardening experts by chat, email, or by calling us at 833-777-6882.