Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tips for cold composting



Cold composting, sometimes called passive composting does work. It takes a little longer than hot composting, but if your compost bin or compost pile is full, cold composting is another way to recycle garden waste and table scraps. The same concepts apply, using a 3:1 ratio of browns to greens. Browns include leaves, shredded cardboard and newspaper. Greens include table scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds and eggshells.  
Avoid adding meat or dairy, diseased plants or weed seeds (it won’t get hot enough to get rid of the seeds).
Worms are an important part of cold composting, just as they are for warm (active) composting, so add some to your raw compost. Worms are available for purchase. Yes, they will survive the winter. They will slow down just as the microorganisms slow down because of the cold temperatures and your compost will turn more slowly, but it will still work through the winter.
Organic nitrogen is also important and can be mixed into your compost ingredients. Organic nitrogen won’t harm any worms in your compost.
You can start with a pile of compost materials in the corner of your garden, layer your ingredients together, water the pile and cover it.
Another method is to dig a trench alongside the garden bed and shovel your scraps into the trench and cover lightly with garden soil.  Expect cold composting to take longer that “hot” composting. The temperatures aren’t there to accelerate the process of breaking down the raw materials. Composting doesn’t have to be complicated.
The main thing is to get started turning your scraps into compost instead of trash. As always, if you have questions stop in and see us. We can help you!  


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