Fall and winter composting

Asked October 15, 2018, 10:43 AM EDT

I just built a 3 stage compost bin and am putting my garden scraps and straw into it. I read your site’s instructions on beginning a pile. Are there any changes or considerations for fall and winter with less sun and cooler temps? I don’t want to create a home for mice so want to be sure I have time for the decomposition to start. Also, I had a straw bale garden so much of it has broken down already but there is lots straw remaining

Hennepin County Minnesota composting

1 Response

We don't know which University of Minnesota compost instructions you read, but the ones following cover the subject in minute detail.


It won't take long (four or five days) for decomposition to start if the carbon/nitrogen ratio is suitable. However, compost piles started now will not be ready for use in spring. The process slows greatly in winter. Materials prepared now need to remain in the first bin for 3-5 weeks. Then they can be turned to winter in the second bin and finished in spring.