Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weekend Tips for Winter Composting

Before the snow arrives, take a look at your yard and see if there is an opportunity to work less and get more from your winter composting.

First, see if there is a spot close to your kitchen door that gets a lot of sun. I don't like walking through knee-deep snow drifts to dump my kitchen scraps, so convenience at this time of year is very important.

Fortunately, there is a sunny spot just outside my back door were I relocate my bin for winter. Next summer, my herbs will love the nutrient boost that the compost will leave behind.

A few hours of sun means my black plastic bin will absorb enough solar energy to restart the composting process every day. I can add all my kitchen scraps and not fill the bin - it's MAGIC!

No flies means I don't have to worry about covering the food waste with soil or leaves. I do have a bag of leaves handy, so I can add a layer of browns every couple decimetres to balance the C:N and trap some air for the spring thaw.

During the cold, dark months it is one of my guilty pleasures to soak in a deep, hot bath. I assuage my guilt by taking a bucket of bathwater out to the compost bin (after the water has sat overnight and added its heat and humidity to my home). This keeps the mice away, too.

Shelter will keep the wind our and the moisture in, so when spring finally arrives next July there will be plenty of moisture to keep it working.

As early as you can in spring, move the bin back to its summer location, toss any unfinished material into your wheelbarrow, and let your winter compost cure until it can be dug into the bed.

You can laugh at how easy it was while you pick fresh herbs for the kitchen.

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