How warm is your home compost bin in
a cold, dank January day when the air temperature is a chilly 4C the
material in a home compost bin can be a warm 13C - Providing the bin
is actively working.
Composting goes through 2 phases, an initial hot process and a
secondary cool one. It is this first hot phase that you need to make
your bin warm in winter. To achieve this you need to
keep adding lots of fresh green material:
cabbage leaves and sprout trimmings are good and donít forget that
weeds grow in a mild spell and can safely be added to your bin.
Other moist, juicy material like fruit skins and potato peelings
The micro-organisms breaking down this fresh material generate heat
as they work. If you donít add any fresh stuff for them to use they
Dry, woody material has to be worked on by fungi before the other
creatures in the heap can break it down and fungi donít generate
So make sure you add at least as much moist, sappy stuff as dry
stalky material. But do add some drier things like soft paper or
card as those picky micro-organisms will drown if the fresh material
is soggy and slimy.
A lid to your compost bin will help keep in the warmth and protect
the material from frost and snow. But take care the surface of the
heap doesnít get dry. Those micro-organisms need a moist environment
to function, they cannot colonise dry stalks.
Leave the lid off the bin on a mild rainy day.
The larger your bin the warmer it will be. Not only does a large
volume of material retain heat better than a small volume but in a
large heap there will also be more micro-organisms working away and
giving off heat in the process.
Even weak, winter sun will help to warm part of the material. So
site your bin where it will be in the sun for at least an hour or
two even in January.
This is especially important if you have a small bin which will need
all the help it can get.
So your compost bin may be warmer than
you thought. Keep adding to it and the micro-organisms will keep
breaking down your kitchen and garden waste.