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Composting Tip: How to Keep Your Compost Active in the Winter

Now that the colder weather is settling in let's talk about how to keep your compost active during the Winter months. There are a couple of options (you can also implement multiple!): 

  • Use darker materials to hold your compost - by placing your compost in a black container, on a dark tarp, or otherwise utilizing dark colors, you can heat up your pile and prevent decomposition from coming to a halt. Make sure your pile is in the sun so it can get the most amount of heat possible!
  • Add scraps in larger quantities - giving your compost a larger "food scrap meal" instead of a "snack" will keep the pile insulated and trap heat which will help jumpstart decomposition. 
  • Use insulation - physically insulating your pile with hay bales or other materials that will protect your pile from frost and cold will also help keep the heat inside your pile. 
  • Let nature take its course - There is nothing wrong with letting the decomposition process slow down or even halt in the Winter. Taking a break from composting and starting back up when the weather warms up is a great option - especially for composters in climates that get to freezing temperatures. 

While these tips can help people in colder climates, there is not a lot you can do for an outdoor compost if you live in a place that gets down to freezing or below. However, there are other options like Vermicomposting or the Bokashi method which work well inside and don't depend on climate! 

Happy composting!