Today’s topic: Composting!
Even in the coldest winter months, it’s possible to have a working compost system – providing you with excellent nutrient rich soil for your spring garden, and reducing trash.
Essentially what is required for winter composting (or any composting) is warmth, and food for the microbes that break down the kitchen scraps. Food is generally easy enough, you feed the microbes by adding material to your compost pile or bin.
The easiest way to keep your compost bin warm (it has to be decently warm for microbe activity!) is by surrounding it with straw bales or other insulating material (piles of leaves, mulch, dirt, etc). Or dig the pit into a hill and use the earth as an insulator. Top with leaves, straw, mulch, etc.
One complaint many people have with composting in general, and in particular winter composting, is how to store the material until it makes it’s way to the compost bin (often carried by someone else) especially when it’s below freezing outside. There are lots of fancy solutions to this dilemma. The easiest is to keep a small container in the kitchen and empty it into the compost each day or each meal.
It’s very important to get a container which will be easy to clean, easy to carry – and look good in your kitchen. As you can Sturbridge Yankee offers a few really cool examples that should do the trick! Your kitchen compost container should include a filter if you wish to cut down even further any odor.
Avoid plastic containers as they are difficult to clean, and absorb odor.
These containers work well, and are far easier to clean than plastic containers which not only leak odor but stains soak into the plastic.
If you’re not fond of a long trek in the cold to dump your kitchen container – you could use a small garbage container just outside the door. Remember to keep it warm, perhaps in the garage, and dump it into the main compost bin regularly.
Alternatively, you could consider a Bokashi container instead of a full outdoor compost pile.
If you’d like to read far more in-depth, and detailed composting information check out: The compost guy
Remember, compost now – and you’ll enjoy a rich gardening experience long before others in your neighborhood. Happy Composting!