compost pile frozen

sunnytopFebruary 1, 2008

I started my first compost pile this fall. I put in it mostly leaves, some sod and grass clippings, an occassional banana peel and a bucket of ashes from the fireplace. I bring home a few coffee grounds from work periodically and have stuck them in. I am reading on the posts about compost piles cooking and letting off steam even in the winter it sounds like. Is there something wrong with my pile that it is frozen 6 inches down? We've had snow cover and mostly subfreezing temperatures.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you turn your pile at the right times, add water when necessary, keep a proper ratio of greens and browns, yes, you can apparently keep one cooking all winter long.

On the other hand, my pile got its last load of addendum (shredded leaves, some grass, and a pile of lake weed washed up on the shore line) a few months ago. Its frozen rock solid right now and covered with snow and ice. I don't much care to go out to play with it through the winter. Come spring time it will quite happily start cooking again, and it will be ready when I want to use it. I've still got a little left year from last year's pile anyway to use as I need it.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 5:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm in zone 5. My piles are frozen and under snow. I can't keep them hot when it's -10*. I'll start them again in the spring.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 9:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Keeping in mind that what freezes when the temperatures drop low enough is water, it probably is not a good idea for people in these cold regions to add water to the mix unless it is absolutely necessary. It is very common for the moist material on the exterior of your pile, if it has some moisture in it, to freeze when the temperatures drop low enough, long enough. How deeply the material will freeze depends on how cold it gets and how long it stays that cold. People are often surprised to find, however, that the center of the pile, it you have sufficient volume, is being worked on and is quite warm. Turning compost piles in winter and getting the frozen exterior is generally not considered a good idea, any more than adding more water would be. Adding water can cool the material and it will displace the air the bacteria also need to function, besides having that property that allows water to solidify.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 6:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
billhill(z5 MI - KBG)

About a month ago I chipped through 6 inches of frozen compost and then deep into the previously added kitchen waste. There were several tight colonies of red wigglers. I found the internal temperature at 45 F. It will be interesting to see if they survive until I turn the pile in the spring. ItÂs a 4 ft cubed pallet bin. Bill Hill

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joepyeweed(5b IL)

My pile is frozen solid. It freezes all the way through. Often times in early spring, I feel the need to dig in the pile and find that the middle is still frozen, long after I would think it should be thawed.

Even so, once it thaws, it heats up and shrinks fairly quickly. I think that that the freezing helps break down the cellular structure, such that when it finally does thaw it decomposes quite quickly.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 12:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank-you for your responses. That all makes sense.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 5:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had some springish weather a couple weeks ago, so I went a played with my pile and it stayed at 150-160 for a good week. It got cold and snowy again, its not steaming anymore, but I can still get in there and add the greens in the middle.

Not frozen yet.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 5:42PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Is non-organic compost OK?
Hello, I am wondering if buying compost from a small,...
Hijack this thread like you're Annpat
So, I was walking by my compost pile the other day...
Miracle-Gro Garden Soil
I was at Home Depot this morning getting a few things...
Composting gone cold
I've been composting for decades, but this winter,...
rescuing a defunct flower bed
We bought our house a year ago and now want to replant...
Sponsored Products
Caspari Curiosity of the Sea Guest Towels
$19.50 | FRONTGATE
Good Ideas Recycled Big Blue Plastic Rain Barrel - RB55-BLUE
$119.99 | Hayneedle
Creative Accents Door Mats No Border Plain 22 in. x 36 in. Coir Door Mat Tan
$42.97 | Home Depot
Compost Bin: Good Ideas 52 Gallon Compost Wizard Jr. Recycled Plastic Compost Tu
$111.88 | Hayneedle
Sun-Mar Toilets Centrex 2000 Electric Waterless High Capacity Central
Home Depot
Great American Rain Barrel - UNPAINTEDRB- BLUEGRAY
$89.98 | Hayneedle
Compost Wizard Starter Kit
Amsterdam Rug by Mat-The-Basics
$172.00 | Lumens
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™