Permaculture forum: Winter Composting

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Name: Cheryl
Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Plumerias Ponds
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Nov 29, 2014 12:53 PM CST
What do you do to keep your compost piles "hot" in the winter?? I get ample sun in the winter, actually more sun than in the summer hits the composters. But as you know, the sun is not as strong. Just wondering what you composters do??

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Charter ATP Member
Nov 29, 2014 2:51 PM CST
I don't use piles, I use sheet compost and anything I put out there is ready by spring. The trick is just to get it cut small enough. But then, I am in Alabama, not in the north. As I remember from growing up in the north woods of michgian--anything under the snow will be dirt by spring.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
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Nov 29, 2014 3:22 PM CST Admin

Same situation here. I don't do a lot of piles.

I feel like a pile can rest over winter and in the spring you could restart it by simply adding freshly cut grass clippings (and turning it).
Name: Judy
Simpsonville SC (Zone 7b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
Nov 30, 2014 7:02 AM CST
I compost in lasagna gardens on my raised beds and two big plastic garbage cans with drainage holes.
The lasagna gardens on raised beds just sut all winter with no maintenance. For the cans, I filled cans with alternate layers of leaves and food scraps (mostly chopped up jacks lanterns) then watered. Every 10 days or 2 weeks I dump out can, put on gloves and dump out then toss everything back in and re water. This aerates the piles and that seems to be the secret to getting the decomposition going and the piles actually generate heat. They are decomposing nicely. If I want to keep at it I may start another round when these are done. Of course Im in SC where we have cold spells but also some warming days I. Winter when it's nice to be out in the fresh air. When I lived in Buffalo the winter compost just froze until spring.

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