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Tips for your Winter Compost

When winter rolls around, it's time to call it quits for many outdoor tasks like watering the lawn, pulling the weeds and maintaining the flower bed. Some may think the same goes for composting, but that's not the case.

The biggest difference between a summer and winter compost is speed. Compost decomposition slows down in the colder months simply because there isn't as much heat to break down the compost elements. Although composting in the winter is a slower process, you can still add it to your list of winter projects with these tips:

  • Choose an efficient location: Select an area that receives a good amount of daylight and is easily accessible in case of snow or extremely cold temperatures.
  • Protect: Heavy snowfall, frigid temperatures and harsh winds can damage your compost. For protection, create a shelter that covers or shields your pile by placing your compost in a bin or next to a wall. You can also cover your winter compost with a bin or garbage can lid.
  • Insulate: It's important to keep your compost from freezing, so use leaves, straw or cardboard to insulate your pile, which will help maintain the decomposition process.
  • Don't turn the pile: Since a compost pile needs all the heat it can get during the colder months, it's best not to turn your compost pile as you usually would during the warmer months. This is because too much heat would escape, and doing so could expose your compost to extreme temperatures that could damage or freeze it.
  • Maintain the moisture: Water your winter compost periodically to make sure it's receiving enough moisture to keep the compost process going, but keep it from getting too damp.
  • Chop scraps into pieces: Chop your kitchen scraps and any other elements you're planning on using for your compost pile into small pieces to help speed up the decomposition process.

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