Although our gardens are not highly dynamic during the winter, a great amount of activity occurs below the surface. This is important to keep in mind when composting through cold winter months, as you will want to replenish and build up your stock of nutrients for the gardening season to come!
Remember that compost is the mixture of decaying organic matter that is used to improve soil and provide nutrients. The decomposition process does slow down in winter due to low temperatures, but an essential core of heat helps the process to continue. Microbes and good bacteria in the compost pile account for a majority of the decomposing, and the decomposition gives off heat – so the process helps itself.
If you find that your compost pile is not keeping, or producing, enough heat try adding some nitrogen rich substances, like chicken or rabbit manure, to the pile. Nitrogen generates heat and will create a solid foundation for over-winter compost.
Not sure what all can be composted? Remember that more than 25% of the typical household’s waste is yard trimmings and food scraps that are compostable. Fall leaves and pine needles, corn stalks, dryer lint, eggshells, and seaweed are all compostable items you may find in use at your home.
Check out an overview of composting, and vital stats to get familiar with, in this composting infographic courtesy of Avant Garden Décor!