Nice … half-frozen veggie scraps molded together in a solid mass. Not exactly what I want to see in my compost bin. With at least five more months of cold weather before warmth and sunshine reappear, why do I even bother keeping the pile going?
Well, I guess I do know why. Diverting even a handful of potato skins from the trash gives me an unexplainable sense of satisfaction. (If you aren’t yet a composter, you just can’t relate to this strange obsession with vegetable scraps.)
So after filling my compost bin with a big batch of freshly raked leaves this weekend, I did a little online research to see what I could do to make it a wee bit more productive this winter.
Here’s my plan of attack:
1. Get a bigger under-the-sink kitchen compost bucket. Fewer trips through the snow will help me stay motivated to feed the outdoor bin all winter long.
2. Empty the compost bin now. Since decomposition slows considerably in the winter, the contents won’t shrink very fast and the bin can get overfilled in the process.
3. Save some leaves. I’m going to stockpile some of the leaves I’m raking now to periodically mix in with winter scraps. Some sites suggest using old tomato cages or covered garbage cans to hold the leaves.
4. Don’t turn the pile. Yep, it pays to be lazy all winter because turning a pile lets valuable heat out.
5. Break down the bits a bit more. Maybe I can get away with chucking a whole apple in the bin in the middle of the summer, but not when the thermometer is hitting negative numbers.
We’ll see if these extra steps make a difference come springtime. And, even if it doesn’t result in more compost, at least it saved some space at the landfill.
Want to learn more about composting? Check out our Gaiam Life Guide to Composting or watch sustainable living videos on GaiamTV.com!
I definitely recommend following everything on this list…and if you’d like to take it a step further, bring your work indoors to a worm composting system. Chances are you’ll save space in your freezer, and you’ll create compost through the winter…although I don’t know what you’d do with it. 🙂