Seasonal Schedule for Composting
The type of storage system or bin is the key to successfully using the materials each season provides. Collect and shred fallen leaves in the fall. No need to compost them as the best use for them now is as mulch for trees, shrubs, and garden beds. Excess leaves can be shredded and stored. Leaves from 100 bags can be and put in a 4’x4’x4′ container. Some decomposition will take place over the winter, but not a significant amount, depending on the outside temperature. You may continue to put kitchen scraps in the pile, but it’s not necessary to turn in cold climates. To assist your compost pile to stay active during the winter, you can enclose the bin with insulated sides. A black coloured bin situated in a sunny spot can help trap solar radiation during cold spells. Keep the pile as large as possible so that heat generated from decomposition will endure. Stacking bales of straw along the sides of your bin to help retain the heat.
Spring is the best time to start working with the compost pile. Summer is the time when the compost pile is working at its peak range of decomposition, especially if it has been turned once or twice. Cover and store the finished compost, or use it, and start another batch. With enough organic waste, you can have continuous batches of highly managed compost during the summer.
The temperature of the managed pile is important – it indicates the activity of the decomposition process. The easiest way to track the temperature inside the pile is by feeling it. If it is warm or hot, everything is fine. If it is the same temperature as the outside air, the microbial activity has slowed down and you need to add more nitrogen (green) materials such as grass clippings, kitchen waste, or manure.