Newcomers to composting are surprised to learn that the process can take place throughout the year. In fact, each season offers its own composting benefits. Here’s a look at these, beginning with spring and ending with winter.
Composting in the spring
Springtime brings rising temperatures, which naturally raises the temperature of the compost. But, you will need to add organic materials to the pile periodically for them to rise correctly. These are an ideal food for the microorganisms located inside the compost. They feed on the organic materials, which can be broken down faster at a higher temperature.
At this rate, the compost will begin to cook naturally. The inner temperature will continue to get warmer as the outdoor temperature rises. If you’re beginning the composting process in the spring, then you should turn the piles regularly, as this allows the air to move more freely. This method can create useable compost in approximately 21 days. The product could be used during the early portion of the growing season.
You should cover your windrows if you live in an area where spring is rainy. Remember to leave enough slack for air to move through the piles. You will also need to turn the compost, so make sure you can easily remove the cover.
The summer months are the best time of the year for composting. The heat from the sun will naturally heat the windrows, which gives the product an extra boost. Once you have established your compost piles, you can begin to focus on the maintenance aspect of the process for the rest of the summer.
Maintaining your compost could mean adding grass clippings or other materials. You may need to check the moisture daily, especially during humid conditions. If the compost is too moist, it will slow down the process, even though the summer offers the perfect weather conditions for composting. Some windrow turners are able to add moisture as they turn the windrows.
The first task is to use the right balance of brown and green organic materials. Usually, the brown materials are dying crops or corn stalks, while the green materials are grass clippings, fruit skins, vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds. Once you have layered these two inside your piles, then you can moisten them regularly. This will allow the air to circulate throughout the compost.