Considerations for Composting
Most composting is done in the spring and summer months. The reason is that heat is
such an important element to the process. Even though the compost process itself
generates heat, the warmth from the weather certainly helps everything along.
Most composts goes dormant in the winter months and start-up again with the spring
thaw and warmer temperatures. But if you live in a milder climate that does not get harsh
winters, there is a way to continue to compost during the winter months.
You can create an insulated compost bin. Using a plastic garbage can dig a hole big and
deep enough to put at least six inches of the can underground. Use a natural insulating
material such as straw and pack it around the base and up the sides of the can. Continue
to compost as you would at any other time of the year.
Even though this method will still work in the winter months, the speed at which the
material will decompose will still be slowed down. Winter composting will allow you to
continue recycling your kitchen scraps throughout the colder months and you may even
have compost at the beginning of spring to use in your garden.
The spring and fall are the best times to collect leaves to start a new compost bin. In the
spring, the leaves you collect have already started to decompose as they stayed wet and
insulated throughout the winter. It doesn’t matter though if you collect your leaves in
either season – they are the perfect base for a new compost pile. If you are using dry
leaves from the fall, consider putting them through a chipper of some kind. If they are
smaller and already cut up it will aid in the whole composting system.
Food for your Compost Bin
There are some rules to learn and follow about what you can put into your compost bin in
order to keep your pile healthy and working properly. The most widespread organic
material that you will add to your compost will be kitchen scraps. The kitchen scraps are
considered green food that you feed to your compost as they contain nitrogen – an
essential element to the process.
It is a good idea to have a container with an airtight lid to store the food waste in your
kitchen. You do not want to attract insects or pests inside your home nor do you want to
be running to your compost bin every time you make a meal or snack. If your kitchen
container is airtight you will also cut down on unpleasant odors.
Here is a list of the most commonly used compost items from the kitchen:
* Vegetable peels and seeds
* Fruit peels, cores, and seeds
* Coffee grounds – you can compost the paper filter too
* Tea bags or loose tea leaves
* Crushed egg shells – do not add left-over eggs cooked or raw
You may be tempted to add other food scraps into the bin, but don’t. You should not add
any animal meat or bones, oily products, or fish remains not only will they be sure to
attract unwanted pests but they will make your compost smell badly. Whenever you are
adding your green food to the compost bin, make sure you cover it under a thick layer of
brown food (yard waste or other carbon producing agent such as dry leaves, wood chips,
sawdust, or small twigs).
If your food scraps are very wet or moist, in addition to putting brown food on top of the
scraps mix some in with the waste too. This will enable better air circulation.