Monday, January 29, 2007

Composting in the winter

I don't know why but even I thought you couldn't compost in the winter. I guess technically if you live in the frigid zones then nothing is composting outside but that doesn't mean that you can stick compostables on your compost pile:

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The freezing will help break down the cells and in the spring, the pile will thaw and start up again. Now, I have to admit that I am a lazy composter. I do not make sure that my browns and my greens are in perfectly porportional layers. I do not measure the temperature of the pile. I do not water it though in this soggy land, I have no need to. I don't even turn it. The most that I have done is to build a bin out of pallets to put it in. In fact, after the first year of composting, my husband was convinced that all that rubbish was just sitting there unchanged. You should have seen his face when I moved aside the top two inches to reveal dirt all the rest of the way down.

The magic of decay.


Patrick said...

I don't have anything close to the hard winters you have. Here in Holland it's above freezing much of the winter. What happens to my compost pile in the winter is it often gets steamy, because it's large and so gets warm. It's very soothing sometime to sit and watch the wisps of steam come off. If you walk on it, it makes your feet warm too.

Ottawa Gardener said...

Patrick. You're making me jealous.

sci-tech said...

From one Ottawa Gardener to another: years ago I encountered the concept of the insulated composter and I'm running my own tests this winter! We're in the city with a fairly small garden (not bad for the city mind you) so opted for the standard black plastic composter, and simply insulated with pink rigid insulation. Send me an email at sci-tech (at) and I'll send you photos!

Anonymous said...

Sci-Tech here again with an update on insulated composter tests: winter Nov-2007 to mid Jan-2008. Styrofoam insulated composter chugging along at a really good rate! Think a larger one would actually be steaming! Ours is standard size, with even less capacity than un-insulated standard size, as the insulation is on the inside walls of the unit.