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Thread: Starting compost in the winter???????????

  1. #1

    Default Starting compost in the winter???????????

    Is there any way to do it?

    I do not have a warm place (garage etc......) to keep it in to help keep it warm and doing it's thing.

    The few people I've asked say I'll end up with a frozen moldy mess and need to wait until spring.

  2. #2
    Member Alaska Grandma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    little log cabin on the river


    Sorry, I canít help you unless you want to get one of those fancy composting toilets!

    I keep my compost items separate from the rest of the trash and make a pile out back. Once it thaws in spring you can work it, but it probably wonít really be ready until fall. One of the downfalls of living in a cold climate I guess.

    If anyone has any good ideas, I am all ears.
    Grandma Lori
    If God had intended us to follow recipes,
    He wouldn't have given us grandmothers. ~Linda Henley

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Grandma View Post
    and make a pile out back.
    That's what I'd planned on doing, but I've had a couple of people tell me that I'd have a frozen moldy pile of unusable material.

    I figured it'd freeze and therefore wouldn't (couldn't) get moldy(?), and I'd start working the pile like compost come spring. And like you said, I'd have usable material in the fall.

  4. #4


    Never started one in the winter but I do have a couple going all the time. Ours are bin's with a roof over it to help keep it dry it usually takes a couple of years to get it cooked down even then it's not all that great. Anyone has a better way to compost up here I'm all ears. I have started taking the Alaska Master Gardeners course maybe they will have some ideas later on.

  5. #5
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    between wasilla and palmer


    I think it will be tough to get it going in winter. Most composts take all summer just to get going. But you can use compost starter to get a jump start this summer. If you get it going good it will work all through the winter.
    Dry? We always watered our compost.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    My wife uses a worm bin to compost indoors. She adds all kinds of plant organics to it and it never smells. The best thing about it is it makes compost tea and has a spigot to drain it to use on plants. The final stage tray leaves perfect soil, too. Google "worm bin" and you'll find some commercially available products and some build-it-yourself plans.

    A good primer article.

    Here's what wifey uses.

  7. #7
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Leavenworth Wa.

    Question Composting...

    I see no reason why you couldn't heat up a pile in early spring.With the right materials,green manure,straw,leaves twigs ect and a little moisture, it would take right off.Have to keep it covered though.I would put a 6" perf pipe in the center of the pile and would need to turn it weekly to keep it going.If green manure is not available, use a box of blood meal mixed throughout.I would bet you could turn out a batch in less than 3 weeks.I can do a batch of pine needles in 14 days that I use for a side dressing.And no, they don't add lots of acid to the soil.GR

  8. #8
    New member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Default compost

    not a compost expert. mine was steaming a couple of weeks ago. It was way below 0 and the surface of garbage was hard as ice. (might be like the fog over waterways) when it thaws in spring will see if there was any decomposition in the middle. I see no reason to send all that future soil to the landfill so deal with some stink in the spring till get some dirt layered in. Without much attention it takes 2 or more years.

  9. #9

    Default Not worth it

    I spent 22 years as a foliage grower, a plant pathologist, I owned a garden center in California for 10 years and had a weekly garden column in a large newspaper for 2 years. Why am I telling you all of this?

    Because I have never understood any value what-so-ever in composting. Never!

    Composting is good if you get the final product from nature, for example, peat moss from Canada that has composted for a few thousand years - that is a good product.

    But to collect scraps off your table, coffee grounds and egg shells in an attempt to make some magic garden treatment is really a joke. The problems you can cause - nitrogen starvation, the introduction of pathogens, etc offset any possible small gains.

    If you want to add organics to your soil then buy some peat moss or collect some tundra mat. (which is just like peat moss) Good luck...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Sterling, AK


    I've had good results with leaf compost using the cylindrical tube of chicken wire staked out in the corner of the yard method for collection and storage. Nice rich looking dark compost after a season, and with no turning (just the initial heaping). Are you saying this is bad for my garden? I've also used seaweed (mostly eelgrass) that washes up on the beach- It seems to work wonders as well (although it isn't technically composted house-scraps!)
    Properly composted manure works wonders too! Way better than peat moss!

  11. #11


    Well composted manure is considered fertilizer, as is composted bat guano, etc. These things are good fertilizers and have value.

    I'm talking about table scraps, saw dust, lawn clippings, etc. Most of these things will rob the soil of Nitrogen as they break down, and once they do totally break down they add very little to the soil. Oftentimes, the weed seed and N depletion effects offset any other values. My take and my experience...


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