Winter Maintenence and Tips...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Winter Maintenence and Tips...
Author: Rman (Rman)
Saturday, March 07, 2015 - 11:15 pm
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I think my bins need to be a bit bigger to allow for more cover material at the sides. I was stingy with it this year and the pile is frozen.

Author: Joe (Joe)
Friday, March 06, 2015 - 5:55 pm
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Here are a couple videos about winter humanure composting. This is the newest (posted March 6, 2015): http://youtu.be/xiSXhV-7mV4

Here is an older one: http://youtu.be/RJn5iuzUWJc

Author: Utopian (Utopian)
Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 12:18 am
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I have done humanure composting in Iowa for several years now. The key thing that I found to help keep decent temps over the winter was to make the diameter of my pile bigger. When I switched from using a 4 pallet square pile to a 5 pallet pentagon pile, my temperatures improved dramatically. I think the increased diameter afforded a greater insulating gradient between the cold outer region and the hotter core.

I've found no difference in temperature maintenance between weekly and every other week deposits.

Only in the winter, I use biodegradeable BioBags to line my buckets to make cleaning much faster.

I keep several buckets of sawdust in the basement to avoid difficulties with frozen piles.

I keep a tarp over my leaf pile to provide easy access to pile cover material under the snow.

I always wash and rinse my dishes in plastic pans in the sinks. When finished, I pour that hot water into a bucket and use that water for washing buckets. This way the water and its heat are also recycled.

Author: Aaron_in_nh (Aaron_in_nh)
Monday, January 24, 2011 - 10:43 am
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Hello Humanure Community!

This fellow here in the throes of a -10 day here in New Hampshire would love a brief, summarized version of tips, tricks and things to watch out for in the maintenance of our humanure piles in the depths of winter.

I started my foray into the world of humanure this past spring of 2010 and after a few different changes (that happened to find me closer to all of Joe’s recommendations in his book….imagine that. As well as help from this forum…) I was able to attain that much desired high temp of 140f! (albeit overblown, as Joe says) So, I did my backyard composters jig and then carried on about my business.

Now I’ve entered a sad time when temps. in the pile have dropped below 35 and shoveling off the pile (let alone a path to it after a 16” storm) has left my perseverance well tested. At that, I reach out a hand to others for their knowledge gained by the humbling and sensible act of taking responsibility for our “waste”.

To roof or not to roof, that is the question.
I currently have no roof and only hardware cloth placed above a straw cover material. (a tricky solution could include a little Yankee ingenuity of using old windows to add a little passive solar,eh?)

Frequency of additions:
What is the effect of a pile’s constant temperature over time (i.e. throughout the winter season) by how often it’s added to?
I am waiting for about 3+ buckets (around 2 weeks time?) to accumulate before taking that trip and now contemplate more frequency at shorter intervals (maybe 2 buckets) to keep temps up?

Cleaning tips and ideas?
Currently using Joe’s rec. of a gallon of hot water (and a nice pair of insulated water proof gloves!)

Sawdust pile management:
I now have my pile of raw sawdust (with ample relative humidity by observing the frost and frozen chunks) covered with a tarp. I pull the tarp and chip away at the “shell” with a shovel until revealing the non-frozen center of dust in order to fill my buckets.

Other topics I've missed are welcomed and thanks in advance for y’alls time and help!
Aaron in NH

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