Compost Tips for the Fall: Start Preparing Now for Winter!
Fall is here, and that means your compost pile needs a bit of attention before the winter arrives. Here in New England, our winters get quite cold, and our gardens go to sleep. My compost pile doesn’t get used as often during the cold winter months as it does when my garden is in full swing. To keep it healthy all winter, I prepare it now by following these simple tips.
Gather leaves. Leaves are very valuable components in your compost pile because they are so rich in carbon. Instead of raking them up and leaving them in bags for garbage pickup, add them to your pile. Just wait until leaves start turning brown first and remember not to add leaves and needles from evergreen or fir trees. If you have fresh grass clippings, you can add them now as well.
Save your ashes. Before you start the woodstove again for the heating season, remove any ashes to add to your pile. Never add ashes that aren’t completely cold. Wood ashes are high in nutrients and can help repel insects and slugs. Ashes can be used lightly between layers of leaves to keep leaves from matting together.
Store your extras. If you have a lot of leaves or extra dead gardening material, store it in bags to add to your pile throughout the fall and winter. Your pile will appreciate the extras during the colder months.
Cover your compost pile. Your compost will do best if it is moist, not wet. To protect it from snow, sleet and spring melt, cover it now with a heavy tarp. The tarp will help keep the moisture in while protecting it from getting too wet.
Once you get your compost ready for fall, you’ll be able to sit back and relax while you plan your spring garden.