Thursday, November 29, 2012

Santa’s Top 3 Winter Composting Tips

The Elves are very busy this time of year preparing for the impending Christmas holiday (OMG, only 25 shopping days left!), but I like to imagine even the Elves take the time to prepare the North Pole compost bin for winter.

Let’s face it, the Elves are doing all the real work up there. Mrs. Claus is probably too busy making cookies or hot chocolate and Santa, puh-leese, he’s sitting by the fire double-checking that long, long list.

So leave it to the Elves. They know how to compost in cold weather (hello, they live in the North Pole). And since the weather will be unseasonably warm in Cincinnati this weekend (60’s !!!!) we should all take advantage of the chance to be outdoors getting our compost bins ready for the cold weather to come.

Here are some of Santa’s the Elves tips for winter composting.

1. Make Space for Winter Food Scraps. The Elves, just like us, still create compostable fruit and vegetable scraps during the winter. And don’t even get them started on the volume of reindeer manure they shovel every day.

But decomposition in our compost bins slows and even stops in the winter and sometimes our frozen food scraps start to pile up. Harvesting your compost in the fall clears space for the winter scraps and all that reindeer manure.

2. Keep Adding Carbon/Browns. In the barren North Pole landscape, the Elves resort to using toy shop sawdust in their compost bin as a source of carbon but most of us have no shortage of leaves this time of year.

Even though our piles will slow or stop, continue to layer food scraps with leaves or shredded paper. Imagine that you are preparing your bin for the spring when everything thaws. Without the brown material the food scraps will turn into a wet smelly sludge in the spring. With the brown material the food scraps will turn quickly into a beautiful compost after the thaw.

3. After the Harvest- Do Not Turn the Pile. Once your fall compost is harvested, don’t worry about turning the pile for the next few months. There is no point since the pile is mostly dormant and what little life is left in the warm center would just be destroyed by turning.

The Elves have enough to do over the winter (including a post-Christmas vacation) so they are happy to not turn the compost pile for a few months.

There will be plenty of time for shopping and toy making in cold December. Get outside and spend some quality time with your compost bin. That’s where you’ll find the Elves and me this weekend.

Happy Holidays Compostingdays!