Cold Weather Composting

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: Cold Weather Composting
Author: Norm Routledge (Quakercannon)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 - 2:55 pm
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Our first compost pile has just survived its first winter. We are in Zone 5A in southern Ontario on top of a windy hill. It never froze, but did go as low as 50 F. As of last week it has returned to 130 F. The pile is 5' x 5' x 4', based on Joe's Hacienda design. We did cover the top with a spare piece of 2" pink styrofoam which made it easier to get at after snowfalls. We are two people and we use fresh bandsaw cut hardwood sawdust as cover material and add weeds and grass during the summer and kitchen compost during winter. We discovered our pile was too dry, it had tunnels in it, so we add about 15 gallons of warm water when we empty the buckets. We absolutely love the system and the freedom it gives us.

Author: earthyakgirl (Earthmomma)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 4:22 pm
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Thanks for the bit about Fairbanks...I live there too and I was wondering how this is going to work out.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 11:58 am
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My email address has changed. It is no longer joe@joseph-jenkins.com. Just delete the hyphen and it will work.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Saturday, February 03, 2007 - 5:02 pm
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This info was submitted via email:

I live in Fairbanks, Alaska and have been composting humanure for seven years. My pile freezes solid by October and only gets going again in mid-May: approximately eight months. I use a lot of buckets. I live alone. At present, the ten buckets that I use last about half of the winter. I warm them up and dump and clean them together. I have to do this about two to three times in a winter. When the pile starts to warm up in May, I mix it and transfer it into a bin. That's my first pile of spring. I continue to accumulate full buckets until I don't have any empties left and then do it again. Batch composting works better for me than continuous (I've tried it both ways) because it heats up better. That said, once I transfer the contents of all the buckets plus garden scraps etc., I never turn the pile. I usually leave a pile sit for a year before I put it on the garden. I maintain three one-pallet bins. Four would not be too many.

Author: admin
Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 7:35 am
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I need to hear from anyone who is humanure composting in cold weather areas (Canada, Alaska, etc.). What sort of problems or issues are you running into? I'm assuming your compost is freezing during thwe winter months. For how long? Does the composting appear to be finished after a 2 year cycle? You can email me directly at joe@joseph-jenkins.com.

Joe Jenkins

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