How To Maintain Compost Over Winter

Five Proven Methods to Maintain Compost Over Winter

How To Maintain Compost Over Winter-garden-soil
Healthy Garden Soil

Compost is a gardener’s gold mine because of the many benefits, garden plants love compost and will thrive their best when this natural organic is incorporated with garden soil. Adding compost to your soil will improve biological, physical, and chemical soil properties, provide nutrients for healthy plant growth, conserve moisture, encourage plant rooting depth, reduce soil erosion, and increase microbial activity that’s good for soil and plant health.

The challenge, however, is if compost is stored long without use can begin to lose nutrients, but the good news is implementing these proven (5) steps will help your compost to retain nutrients even during the colder months so when the warmer months return it (compost) will be just as potent providing your garden soil and plants with the right amount of nutrients to encourage and sustain healthy plant growth.

How to Preserve Your Compost During Winter

Although the colder months may present some challenges in preserving your compost these small steps which require some work will reward you paying off in big ways as you reap the fruits of your labor by paying close attention to maintaining your compost pile.

1. Adding the Right amounts of Ingredients

For your compost to remain healthy during the winter months it’s best to maintain a balance between carbon-rich brown material and nitrogen-green rich material. Maintaining a balance between the green and the brown material will encourage and sustain microbial activity.

Continue to add equal amounts of kitchen scraps, for example, vegetable and fruit peels along with brown materials such as straw and fallen leaves. When starting your compost pile start with a considerable amount of brown material at the bottom because this action will aid in aeration and moisture absorption which will discourage compost from becoming soggy. This move is crucial when colder months slow down the decomposition.

2. Insulating Your Compost

Another key component to keep your compost healthy by insulation, this method has proven to be beneficial when the weather is extremely cold. Insulating your compost will retain the heat that’s generated by microbial activity which is so important for decomposition to be effective.

This method can also be used during the warmer months as well, the way this technique works is to cover and lay old carpets, straw bales, or a thick layer of leaves around your compost bin. If your compost bin is portable then seek out a location that’s getting lots of sunlight and position your compost bin there followed by using the insulation material as directed. The sunlight will further help to keep your compost bin warm.

3. Doses Compost Size matters

When it comes to composting it does, why because a small compost pile will have a harder time retaining heat, but a larger pile will hold heat much better. A larger compost pile will ensure that the core stays warm and active. A compost pile that’s three feet tall with the same width will be able to withstand the winter chill, what you can do also is regularly add a 70/30 mixture of green and brown waste. Materials such as cardboard, leaves, or straws used in layers will help to keep your compost pile warm.

4. How Often Should I Turn My Compost

Occasionally turning off your compost during the colder months will help to evenly distribute heath throughout your compost pile along with encouraging better airflow that will speed up the decomposition process. Remember occasionally turning is the key.

5. Applying the Right Amount of Moisture

If your compost pile becomes too soggy will slow down decomposition, your compost should be moist not soggy or water-saturated. The cold winter months can negatively affect your compost pile if it freezes during winter time.

If your compost has too much moisture then the addition of or mixing in dry materials for example shredded paper or straw will absorb the water and restore balance. Make sure that your compost pile has proper drainage. If heavy rain or snow is forecast cover your compost with a compost bin lid or secure with a tarp.

Additional information on composting

The final word on how to maintain compost over winter

Maintaining your compost pile during the winter months is that simple, this move on your path will ensure that your compost retains its nutrients so when the warm season returns you will have an abundance of dark rich gold that can be added to your flower beds, herbs or vegetable gardens which will ensure that you reap a good harvest or be rewared by the fruits of your labor. Compost is a gardener’s gold mine that’s beneficial for garden plants.


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

2 thoughts on “How To Maintain Compost Over Winter”

  1. Hey Norman, these are useful tips on how to maintain compost over winter. Like you hint at, a healthy compost pile needs to be kept up all year long, but especially in the cold, dark days of winter. I have often had issues with maintain my compost during the colder months because things break down so much more slowly (there are fewer bugs out to help with that part too). I’ll try to incorporate these ideas right now actually, since we’re in the cold season here. 


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