Creating a compost pile is a wonderful way to produce natural food for your garden soil. It is environmentally friendly because you are turning the organic waste from the inside and outside of your home into something useful. In addition, it is a way to improve the conditions of the soil in your garden that will not cost you any money. Composting speeds up the decomposition process. Heat is one of the elements that help speed up the process so the colder weather in the winter can slow things down. But, there are some things you can do to keep the decomposition process going even when the weather cools down.
- Create a shelter for your compost pile
You can help your compost pile hold in some heat by creating a shelter for it in the winter. The type of shelter you need to create is dependent on the climate in your area. If you live in an area with mild winters then you may only need to cover it with some type of roof or tarp. For more protection from the elements you can box it in with some type of temporary or permanent structure. When you create some protection from the weather it will help the pile maintain a more consistent temperature and continue with the decomposition process.
- Increase the size of the compost pile
Another way to keep your compost pile active during the winter is to increase the size of the pile or rearrange it so it is less spread out. A larger pile will insulate the inside of the pile against the changes in the weather and allow it to continue the decomposition process. Continue to add to your pile all winter long and do not forget about the fallen leaves in your yard. Chopped up leaves are great additions to your compost pile and can really add some volume as you try and prepare it for the winter.
- Dig a hole for your compost pile
You can also help your compost pile remain active through the winter by putting it into the ground. Keeping your compost in a hole will protect it against some of the variations in the weather. If you want to protect it even more you can cover the hole with a tarp or some other type of cover. If you are considering this method you need to consider how much rain your area gets throughout the winter. You do not want your compost pile to be overly saturated with water because it can negatively impact the decomposition process.
The rate at which your compost pile is decomposing may slow down in the winter but any of the preparatory steps mentioned here can positively impact the decomposition rate. Give your compost pile a little attention through the winter and it will repay you with nutrient rich food for the soil of your spring gardens.