How To Compost In Winter In Canada

Ashley

You may be wondering how to compost in winter in Canada. Composting in a cold climate is an absolute nightmare. And this garden in Canada article I’m going to give you practical ways to compost in a Canadian household. 

If you are new to this blog my name is Ashley and I am a soil scientist. I am located in a Canadian Zone 3 and a USDA Zone 4. I write articles, make YouTube videos, Instagram & Facebook posts all designed for Canadians and Cold Climate gardeners using science-based methods. If you are looking for anything specific be sure to let me know in the comments down below.

Classic Composting Is Not Worth It

I tried the classic compost method for years. For a while I held our the belief for nearly a decade that eventually one day composting classically would work in Canada. I had convinced myself that I’m simply just not doing it right. However fast forward many years later and I’ve completely given up on classic composting.

The first reason being the most obvious in the fact that it freezes every single winter. This is despite the fact I’m rotating and trying to keep it a hot compost. I’m in a Canadian zone three and -40° centigrade without the windchill is very common for two months of the year. 

The second reason being rodents. I despise rodents being in my home and having a hot compost in my yard resulted in a large influx of furry friends. Now I know this can be curved by not using things such as eggs as an example. But I want a compost that is practical and can take everything not something I need to pick through.

And the last reason being things can and cannot go into a hot compost. For a gamble and a hot compost it is highly not recommended you add things such as dairy, meat and bones. I am looking for a one size fit and not a checklist of what can and cannot be composted.

This is why I’ve completely changed my mind when it comes to composting and switched my methods to something much more feasible. My composting method is technically two separate methods combined into one. But I do feel as though it drastically helps me compost nearly everything my family uses.

Step One Of Composting In Winter In Canada: Bokashi

The first step in my composting regimen is Bokashi. It’s a mess free smell free delightful experience. All I do is take a 5 gallon bucket and fill it with all my food scraps for the entire week or two. I continue to fill that 5 gallon bucket adding some Bokashi bran to the top of the mix every once in a while until it is full.

I can add literally anything I desire to the Bokashi compost system. This includes everything from animal bones, meat, dairy, cooking oil, fruits and veggies. The entire process is considered anaerobic and therefore it decomposes without oxygen. 

The entire process is scentless and can be done indoors or in your garage. You can then leave the Bokashi and your $4 five gallon bucket for 2 weeks or as long as you desire. In the spring once the ground has thawed you can easily place this Bokashi mix into your soil. All you’re going to do is simply dig a hole and place the food into this area. Due to the storability this compost in winter in canada is perfect.

The Bokashi is so full of microbial life that it will decompose in less than 30 days. This will all be available nutrients for the plant in the very near future. But what I like to do to expedite this process and get an even better compost is feed it to the worms. 

You can grab Complete Bokashi Kit from this Canadian company

If you want to try and make your own Bokashi Bucket and are wanting just the bran you can grab that here.

Step Two Of Composting In Canada: Vermicompost 

This is my second stop when it comes to composting in Canada. Vermicomposting is the process of feeding worms and allowing them to digest what is given to them. The end result is their manure and a very valuable compost. It’s a common misconception that worm composting is simply just worms eating organic material.

In reality it is microbes breaking down the food overtime in a moist warm environment, combined with warm activity. This is what makes Bokashi compost so valuable as a worm feed. Because you are feeding foods that are already partly decomposed, the turnaround time is much quicker.

Simply all you do is feed the compost to the worms in a fashion you would similarly to any other fruit or veggies. The beauty of this is that you can simply just place the lid on top of the bucket after feeding. This allows you to store your worm food in a safe place, that’s still decomposing.

Again warm composting does not smell and is incredibly easy to do during the winter. you can get as intense with your worm bin as you would like. There are fancy ones over on Amazon or you can simply use a Rubbermaid. Due to its compact form worm compost in winter in canada is perfect.

If you are looking for a functional & pretty worm bin this should be your definite choice!

There you have it the best way to compost in Canada. No more frozen piles to deal with, no more rodents and best of all it is accessible to anyone. From the elderly to children and everyone else in between this form of composting in Canada is accessible. There’s no heavy lifting involved and it is all simply done within the home.

Compost In Winter In Canada
Compost In Winter In Canada

5 thoughts on “How To Compost In Winter In Canada”

  1. Hi there! I garden in Finland and so following blogs and podcasts from northern post-glacial areas in North America is always helpful. I do some bokashi as well, mostly just for practicality but I end up dumping most of my compost in an outdoor bin, fully fermented or now and just let it freeze until Spring comes and the whole thing tends to go into overdrive? Is there an actual disadvantage to this? The compost ends up looking like it should and the plants seem happy. Do I lose a lot of nutrition somehow or is there some other issue?

    BTW on the rodents a great tip I got is to just periodically get in there and turn it/stir it with a pitchfork throughout the entire thawed season. Rodents are apparently quite put out when their tunnels get mussed and will abandon the project. To my great surprise, it seems to work so far. But we are in the country and just have to count on rodents being in the neighborhood anyway, city composting is different.

    1. That an awesome suggestion for the rodents! And no I don’t see any don’t fall with that. I think it’s going to decompose faster then a regular compost setup regardless just because of the massive about of microbe influx. Do your piles tend to freeze completely where you are?

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