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Composting > Compost & Climate

Compost & Climate

You can adopt a number of strategies to keep weather from chilling a compost pile. Wind both lowers temperature and dries out a pile, so if at all possible, make compost in a sheltered location. Heavy, cold rains can chill and waterlog a pile. Composting under a roof will also keep hot sun from baking moisture out of a pile in summer. Using bins or other compost structures can hold in heat that might otherwise be lost from the sides of unprotected heaps.

It is much easier to maintain a high core temperature when the weather is warm. It may not be so easy to make hot compost heaps during a northern winter. So in some parts of the country I would not expect too much from a compost pile made from autumn cleanup. This stack of leaves and frost-bitten garden plants may have to await the spring thaw, then to be mixed with potent spring grass clippings and other nitrogenous materials in order to heat up and complete the composting process. What to do with kitchen garbage during winter in the frozen North makes an interesting problem and leads serious recyclers to take notice of vermicomposting. (See Chapter 6.)

In southern regions the heap may be prevented from overheating by making it smaller or not as tall.

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