Thoughts of gardening are usual reserved for the spring and summer months. But what about the winter? Is there nothing you can do for your garden in the chill and snow? Susan suggests that’s not truly the case. Composting during winter has numerous and notable benefits for your garden. This post explores the benefits of composting during winter, and walks you through how to go about composting properly. Here’s to your bountiful garden!
“Spring through fall is generally considered gardening season. For most of us, winter is a time to take a break, do some planning, and dream about next year’s garden. But what about composting? Should we continue to compost through the winter? If you continue to create food waste through the winter, then yes, you should continue to compost. Why send all those valuable nutrients to the landfill?
According to Colorado State Master Gardener, Joan Nusbaum, “A working compost pile has four basic needs to encourage adequate working conditions: air, water, carbon and nitrogen. Bacteria that decompose organic matter need air and water for survival, carbon for energy and nitrogen for protein. Heat is actually a by-product of the chemical process of breaking down the materials”.
While heat is a by-product of the chemical process that is occurring, warm weather does help to speed decomposition, and cold weather will slow or even stop it. There are a number of ways that you can help to keep some heat in your compost pile during the winter to prevent decomposition from stopping.
- Volume helps to generate heat. A small pile will not do the job; building a pile that is at least one cubic yard in volume is recommended. Notice the steam coming off of the pile in the photo at the top despite the fact that it’s obviously winter. That’s because of the volume of the pile of wood chips being composted.”