Posts Tagged ‘winter composting’
Monday, September 21st, 2009
Composting worms during winter: possible or not?
Composting worms is an enjoyable activity to do during the sunny seasons. It is such a joy to go out and bask under the pleasant heat of the sun and tend to your generous lively and hard-working red wriggler worms.
Simple are the joys that you get from worm composting and organic gardening, in general. But there may come a time when the weather is not as friendly for composting worms as you hope it would be. Sometimes the temperature drops and you find yourself shivering against the ghastly winter wind, hoping that your garden would live again after such a cold assault; sometimes snow flakes fall so generously that your garden becomes covered with 3 feet of snow. This then presents puts you in a tight spot: can you still compost worms during the winter so that you can have enough organic fertilizer to jump-start your home garden after it? The answer: yes.
Significance of composting worms during the winter
The process of composting worms during the winter is a very positive prospect to many home gardeners. This is because a home garden loses a lot of its liveliness and green-ness during the winter season. Usually after winter, what is left of a previously healthy, bustling garden of foliage is a barren expanse frozen by the extreme weather. And once again, the home garden farmer is driven to bring it back to life. And this is where worm composting comes in.
Compost worms can help provide you the needed nutrients for the plant life to recover in your home garden. With its natural, plant-boosting qualities, re-growing gardens become much easier tasks. Composting worms produce worm castings which contain many nutrients and ingredients which help improve plant life as well as soil quality to ensure the flourishing of new plant life in your garden. Worms like Red Wiggler worms are also very easy to maintain as there is no need for expensive equipment or chemicals to preserve your worms through the winter. One very common way of composting worms during the winter is doing it indoors.
Composting worms indoors
Composting worms indoors and outdoors involve very much the same process. But preparing the compost bin of your red wriggler worms requires a little more work in indoor composting. When composting worms outdoors, making comfortable bedding for your worms is almost as easy as piling up leaves, grass clippings and other such garden wastes.
On the other hand composting worms indoors requires you a worm bin to put your worms in. A 24in x 16in x 10in container would be perfect if you want to place it in a compact space, out of harm’s way. Putting it in a secure spot like a cupboard or a low table is good. Holes would have to be drilled at the top and at the sides of the compost bin to allow for good aeration and some at the bottom to allow for good drainage. It is also advisable for you to put a container underneath. This is to collect any of the excess water that comes out after watering the bin. This water is enriched with some of the nutrients found in worm castings making it very useful for plants.
Some damp bedding must also be put onto the compost bin. This is where your red wrigglers would live in for the time being. Biodegradable compost materials such as shredded cardboard, leaves, dried grass clippings, loam, or shredded newspapers with non-toxic ink would do great for these. Provide about a foot of this mix in your compost bin for your worms to live in. Now just find a lid for your bin and drill some holes on it also for the purpose of aeration and your bin is set! Now composting worms during the winter will be that much easier for you!
Saturday, September 5th, 2009
Why Compost in the Cold during Fall or Winter?
- Thinking about green grass, hearty gardens and blue skies of spring can help ward off the winter blues.
- Remember your garden needs you now to be great in the spring.
- Give indoor composting a try.
- Turn down the heat, and try to reuse paper products.
- Start a car pool and reduce commute stress levels.
Benefits of Sticking with Your Composting in a Cold Climate
We’ve learned about the wonderful benefits that a compost pile can bring to our gardens, lawns and greenery, and while that’s fine and dandy when we can trip out to the bin in 60 degrees at dusk to maintain in, it’s a no brainer. However, it’s a little harder to find the motivation when the wind is howling through your back yard, you can’t find your snow boots because they’re piled out in the shed somewhere under the kids sleds and you’re fighting a drippy winter cold. Buck up, o great composter that you are, and have heart that while taking some effort, the benefits of composting in winter outweigh a little cold.
Once you’ve overcome the impulse to ignore your bin until the thaw, you’ve found your boots and taken some cold medicine; sit back down on your sofa and relax. There is less maintenance outside for composting in the winter because the whole break-down process slows in the cold. No need to turn the bin so frequently, because it needs to maintain warmth. The only real increase in work is with your brown and green products. These should be chopped small and added more often to the bin to maintain your nitrogen levels and heat. Keep it indoors in a bucket or bin by the back door until you have enough to blanket into your bin.
Composting in Winter can be Mentally Rewarding
Think about it. The sky is dark more than its light, you can’t do much outdoors without ski-pants or boots and the sky is a sickly gray a lot of the time. People can get depressed over these conditions, but composters have a remedy. Thinking about your compost bin keeps its benefits, that rich, dark soil, in the back of your mind with every chop of a green or brown material, every trip to the pile itself and every check on your red worms, if you use them. You get to think of spring every day. And “state of mind”, says many a psychoanalyst, adds more to our reality than environment, right? So think of spring as you’re carrying your materials out to your bin, and smile knowing that you’re doing good for the environment and your yard. Now go back in and don’t forget to leave your boots by the back door. Mud in the house is not eco-friendly. nor will it be appreciated by other members of the household!
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Fill each stacking tray with food scraps, junk mail and other household and garden waste. Worms start in the bottom tray and migrate upward as they break down the waste. This allows worms to separate themselves from the finished compost making it easy to add nutrient-rich fertilizer to plants and gardens without sorting worms.
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Friday, September 4th, 2009
All beatific visions, really, but exactly how do any of them apply to the gray-skied, brown grassed and hard-ground filled times of winter? Easy. It’s called preventative maintenance.
During the winter, there are ways to maintain your green lifestyle so you can more readily walk through your lush lawn and pick from your organic veggie garden come spring.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
When the winter cold gushes in leaving you indoors much more than out, more apt to be holding a cup of hot tea than your hoe or shovel, it’s still important to remember that your garden needs you to be green-minded.
If you have never had a compost pile before, then there’s no time like the present to begin one, freezing temperatures, snow and all. Indoor worm composting is a great way to create that dark brown, nutrient-rich soil your vegetables and fruits will thrive in. Contact us to learn more about indoor composting or see our products page for some indoor bin ideas. Don’t forget our Super Red Wiggler Worms, because indoor composting is only done with these little wrigglers. Your diligence will pay off come warm weather when your garden is hearty and bountiful.
ReDuce, ReUse, ReCycle?
Yup – Still Relevant in Winter
The winter months can lead to increased gas or oil usage for home heating, a fact that is tied to our extended fossil-fuel consumption as well as increased costs of living. In lieu of cranking up the heat when the wind starts to blow, try on that new sweater you got for the holidays or throw some blankets around to be grabbed during tv time. You can keep your heat lower and still be snuggly warm.
Continue recycling as usual and if possible, reuse paper plates and cups. Freezing water pipes can be a real issue during the cold winter months in some regions and paper and plastic consumption tends to rise. Reuse what you can and try to be mindful that each plate and cup is a little more of our natural resources being stripped away.
Like a Rolling Stone…
Continuing on with our plagiarized and clichéd headers, we know that idea of transportation during the winter can be a chore, too. However, there is no better time than winter to start that car pool you and your neighbor have chatted about over the fence for the last year or so. Reducing gas usage and wear and tear on your respective vehicles are great reasons to get to know your neighbor a little better. The clincher, in my opinion, is the 50% reduction in dealing with people on the road during your commute that panic over a dusting of snow and go ten miles and hour for four miles while you fret behind them. Grab your java, call shotgun, and snooze into the office.
Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
Keep Jack Frost Away from your Compost Pile
Fall is coming will come to a swift end and preparation for winter will begin soon enough!. The squirrels are foraging, deer are nesting and composters are wondering how to keep their piles warm in the coming winter months. Composting is the easiest way to dispose of materials that most landfills no longer accept, while creating rich, nutrient-rich compost to use on your lawn and garden in the spring and summer months. (LEARN HOW TO WINTER-PREP YOUR GARDEN IN THE ARTICLE BELOW.)
As you rake your leaves, pine needles and dried grasses, keep in mind that these materials are essential to maintain a consistent temperature in your compost pile. They build the “heat” that allows the breakdown process to continue even in the cold months of winter. If your pile is not in need of new “browns” yet, keep these leaves and grasses in a tarp-covered bin so they stay dry until you’re ready to use them. Keeping the temperature between 140 and 160 degrees F is crucial to successfully maintaining a compost pile.
Add to these browns layers of organic food and yard scraps, which keep the nitrogen count in your compost high. These materials, like coffee grinds, vegetable leftovers, mown grass or even egg shells break down fairly quickly and add moisture to your compost.
In the winter, maintain your compost pile as you do in the warm seasons, using layers of these brown and green materials, monitoring the temperature and moisture levels and keeping it turned occasionally to increase air circulation.
If it sounds unappealing to have to schlep out to the compost pile in the dead of winter, there are three steps that can help you in your efforts of green living.
First, you could cover your pile with an extra layer of tarp and weigh down the corners to keep the temperature maintained and the moisture controlled. If you live in colder climates and the extra tarp is not enough, using wood to build a case for your bin to insulate it from the winter winds.
The winter cold slows down the composting process. Make sure your pile is still breaking down its contents by keeping the content pieces smaller. Using a cutting board for leftovers and paper scraps lessons the work your compost pile has to do on its own. Last but not least, if you have ea location in your yard that allows for more sun that where your bin currently sits, moving it into steady access of the suns warming rays, even in winter, can help maintain your proper temperature.
Great – so you’re pile is set to handle the weather, there’s still the little matter of having to brave the cold and wind yourself for the sake of a compost heap. This can sound daunting even to the most devoted of eco-friendly people. Make your season a little easier on yourself by keeping a bucket or small bin in your slop room or garage. As you gather compost materials, layer them in this container until you have enough to carry out to the bin. Keep your layers thicker with small shreds of paper to lessen the risk of strong odors between emptying.
Check out our blog and website for more details on the benefits of composting.