Dear Dot: How can I compost in the winter?

Author:

Category:

Dear Dot,

I started a compost pile in my backyard and it’s been doing its thing. But it’s now cold where I live and I noticed that the food waste I’m putting in is just sorta frozen. Should I stop putting anything in my outdoor compost until the weather warms up?

Sonya

Dear Sonya,

I took your compost query to Kristen Raney, a blogger and gardener who lives near Clavet, a village in the province of Saskatchewan with a population of 467, according to 2021 data, and average winter temperatures from highs of 18°F (-8°C) to lows of 3°F (-16°C). Kristen knows a thing or two (or three) about winter composting. 

Though “winter composting,” Kristen clarifies, is a bit of a misnomer. “In cold climates, it’s simply too cold over the winter for any sort of breakdown to occur outdoors,” she says. Instead, we’re really just stockpiling compost ingredients over the winter for decomposition in the spring when warmer temperatures arrive. For a moment, my thoughts hearken back to a simpler time and I picture pioneer Dots maybe probably composting like champs through bitter Canadian winters. But I am a wimpier Dot. A summer-loving Dot. Though I’m also a compost-loving Dot. Can’t I just wait for spring to lure me back to my compost heap?

This Saskatchewan gardener who routinely faces even greater cold is nonetheless sympathetic. She offers me a compromise: If your compost bin is too far away or the snow has piled up too high to get there, Kristen tells me, put some outdoor containers closer to your back door — make sure they have lids to keep animals out. And make sure the containers aren’t too large, she says, reminding me that I’ll have to carry them — frozen or melted — to my bin when the weather warms. “The best solution for winter composting in freezing temps,” she says, “is the one you’ll actually do.” 

Realistically,

Dot

Got a question for Dot? Let her know here:

    - Advertisement -spot_img

    Latest Stories

    Good Libations: Sipping on Seedlip

    With trends like dry (or damp) January popularizing consumer experimentation in the realm of non-alcoholic cocktails,...

    A San Diego Coffee Roastery Delivers a Delicious Cuppa Using Solar Power and an Electric Mini Cooper

    Behind a house in sunny San Diego sits a 70 square-foot shed. If passersby were to...

    RECIPE: Home-style Fried Rice with Vegetables

    I've eaten plenty of fried rice — some good, some a little greasy, some overly salty....

    Good News: Australia’s Biodiversity Credits Aim to Support Farmers and Conservation

    Australia is launching a program to reward landholders for conducting biodiversity-enhancing projects, Bloomberg News reports. The...

    RECIPE: Grapefruit Gin(ger) Fizz

    Grapefruit Gin(ger) Fizz Serves 1 All it takes to whip up this Dry January treat is tangy grapefruit...

    A Joyous (Dry) January Celebration + Recipe

    If you’re joining the legions trying Dry January, you don’t have to give up celebrating special...
    Dear Dot
    Dear Dot
    Dear Dot is here to answer all your sustainable living questions from her perch on the porch. Got a question for Dot? Send her a note for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue.

    Read More

    Related Articles

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here