hot composting vs cold composting

The time needed to have finished compost is hard to estimate because it depends on the materials in your pile and the size of the particles. What does that mean?” Well, basically, hot composting will break the pile down faster. It’s a matter of piling up browns and greens in a 3- to 4-foot (about 1m.) It’s finished when the compost is dark and crumbly. Cold compost piles take longer to break down but are ideal for recycling small, steady amounts of organic material. Firstly, as noted above, you need to have all your ingredients on hand, ready to go. This should be done several times. Use it as a soil amendment in the garden or as a mulch on annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs. Compost basically falls into two rough categories, “hot” and “cold.” Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Start by choosing a site near a water source and close to where the amendment will be used. The faster these tiny microbes work, the faster the compost decomposes. The one thing…, When the snowflakes begin to fly and the ground becomes frozen solid, many gardeners start to lament the end of the season. Start by choosing a site near a water source and close to where the amendment will be used. It just takes more time. Learn about different styles of composting, including the hot and cold method. COMPOSTING METHODS. Cold Composting Hot composting is faster but requires attention to keep carbon and nitrogen in the optimum ratio. Hot composting takes more effort, but the reward is finished compost in only six to eight weeks. Cold Composting is very similar to hot composting, the difference being with a cold heap you are making it gradually as materials become available. There is the hands-off cold compost pile that only has to be aerated every so often and is added to as one goes along. They are considered “cold” because little or no heat reaction occurs as the material decomposes. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Hot Composting Vs Cold Composting. As a thank you for joining our campaign, we’ll gift you our brand new eBook,. You can think of cold composting as the add-as-you-have-materials pile. It doesn’t kill weed seeds or plant pathogens. In contrast, cold composting does not destroy seeds, so if you cold compost weeds, any weed seeds will grow when you put the compost into the garden. Turn it twice a week at first, then every week. Hot Compost vs. Cold Compost. Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Frequent turning allows more oxygen into the pile ensuring aerobic activity and a sweet, earthen smell. Is your compost cold as ice? A variety of different-size mate rials (like twigs, stalks, straw, or hay) creates air pockets. Layer browns to greens in a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio. Whether you want quick results or are content to let compost “happen” at its own speed, there is a method for you. Build a 3 foot by 3 foot (1 by 1 m.) bin out of wire, wood pallets, concrete blocks, or purchase one. Browns (carbon source) are dried leaves, twigs, straw, and shredded newspapers or cardboard, while greens (nitrogen) are grass clippings, weeds, vegetable scraps (no meat or dairy), coffee grounds and filters, and tea bags. A hot pile requires enough high-nitrogen materials to get the pile to heat up. In general, bigger is better, but four feet by four feet is a manageable size for most gardeners. Hot Composting vs. Here are four tricks for heating up your compost pile. Too much moisture will deplete the much needed oxygen and you’ll end up with foul smelling compost. Hot Composting Tips. Hot composting takes much less time than cold composting. Under optimal conditions (i.e., if not dragged out too long or flooded by repeated rainfalls), it may even contain more nutrients. If hot composting is not for you, try one of these easy cold composting methods. Are you willing to sacrifice your love? Cool is, by elimination, cooler than 113 degrees. Hot Composting is a great way to make lots of rich organic compost fast - typically 30-90 days. Norfolk Pine Holiday Plants – A Living Christmas Tree You’ll Love, Growing Plants Indoors: Forcing Amaryllis Blooms In Winter, Phalaenopsis Orchid: A Surprising Addition To Holiday Décor. The ratio by volume should be 2 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. Cold composting uses many of the sameingredients as hot composting, but requires less attention and a longerdecomposition period. Do not put in weeds that have gone to seed or diseased plants. Continue layering till the bin is full. All the ingredients are at your disposal, so the only question is, should I hot compost or cold compost? Hot composting has the benefits of killing weed seeds and pathogens (diseases), and breaking down the material into very fine compost. Cold composting can also be done in a dark dank corner of the garden behind … Characteristics and Benefits of Hot Compost. Hot (or active) composting uses microbes to breakdown the matter. Get our latest tips, how-to articles, and instructional videos sent to your inbox. Are you sure you want to delete your notes for this recipe? But the pile needs to be no more than about a cubic yard (3’ x 3’ x 3’) in size. heap and letting nature take its course. Usable soilmade from cold composting systems takes about a year to mature, and … Build a 3 foot by 3 foot (1 by 1 m.) bin out of wire, wood pallets, concrete blocks, or purchase one. Many gardeners prefer the cold composting method becauseit requires much less effort and maintenance to create the same nutrient-richgarden humus that hot composting makes. If the pile is built correctly, it will heat up within 24 to 36 hours to the ideal temperature of 141°F to 155°F (weed seeds and disease pathogens die at these temperatures) and will maintain its temperature for several days to a week or longer. “Hot vs Cold? When actively working, a handful of compost should feel like a wet sponge. In compost terms, these words do not refer to the temperature of the air outside, but rather the temperature inside of the pile. of the member-only content library. You can build it slowly over time. Every few days adding a bit more. Cold composting is definitely a more natural method than hot composting, and it definitely fosters more of the beneficial organisms necessary for plant health. Come spring, you’ll have a good head start on producing compost … Heat will kill weed seeds and some plant diseases, but heat is not necessary to break down the pile. So, add in all your usual vegetable and garden waste, watch the heat soar and then start adding cooked food, meat, small bones and perennial weeds. Unlike a hot compost heap, a cold heap can be of any volume as it does not need to reach a critical mass to be a good environment for the particular micro-organisms that inhabit it. Hopefully, it’ll help make your holiday season as special as possible. Sear Nation 18,067 views. Hot Composting Basics . Conversely, hot composting can take place in worm bins that have been overfed….bad! Each has advantages and disadvantages but the end result is the same: improved garden soil and less organic waste in landfills. By Veronica Lorson Fowler The Iowa Gardener . This is often referred to as “cold composting”. It should have one side open or removable so you can easily reach the bottom of the pile to turn it. Use a compost thermometer to monitor the temperature. Simple to maintain, just add your waste to it. Your email address will not be published. There are many different composting methods. Start by choosing a site near a water source and close to where the amendment will be used. As with the choice of what materials to compost, what type of compost bin/container to use, and other facets of composting, there is no right or wrong answer. Compost piles come in two types. Now that you know the difference between the two, it’s merely a matter of which method you have time for or how quickly you’d like to see results. The big advantage of hot over cold composting is the time it takes to complete the process. What do these mean anyway and which is better? See how to turn garden waste and kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich goodness—whether it’s “hot” composting or “cold” composting. Moisture is important so if it doesn’t rain, you’ll need to water the pile to keep it moist. As far as CO2 release, pretty much any organic material decomposes to release its carbon as CO2. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Hot Composting vs Cold Composting. Composting doesn’t have to be complicated. Hot composting takes more effort, but the reward is finished compost in only six to eight weeks. Hot Composting. The size of your compost bin or pile is very important when it comes to hot composting. It was a small way to say thank you for the efforts…. David J. Jimenez. Compost basically falls into two rough categories, "hot" and "cold." Cold composting can take several months to decompose to usable fertilizer. There’s an old saying that the three best things you can do for your plants is compost, compost, and compost. © 2020 The Taunton Press, Inc. All rights reserved. You must be a magazine subscriber to access this feature. There are two means of composting organic material: Slow which is cold compost, and fast which is hot compost. Hot Compost Vs. Cold composting is for those who aren’t in any hurry for the finished product, which can take up to two years. Downfalls to Cold Composting. ... FCMP IM4000 vs Envirocycle Outdoor Compost Bins Review - Duration: 10:00. Either way, you’ll get a terrific soil amendment for your garden. Unlike many cold composting systems, a hot composting system allows you to recycle more types of waste and produce compost faster. Nutrients will gradually be released, providing nourishment to the soil all season. Your email address will not be published. Sadly, for much of the country, the planting…, After such a long and dreary year, we could all use a celebration. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! If you have even a small space, it can just be a pile in a remote corner of the yard. Sign up for a free trial and get access to ALL our regional content, plus the rest Basically, you just let the pile sit and rot. Sign up for our newsletter. What’s the difference and which one is better? (See “The Humanure Book” for more details on this.) So, this holiday season, we created a giving campaign for two of our favorite non-profits who are working to help put food on the tables of hungry families across the U.S. and around the world. Whether you want quick results or are content to let compost “happen” at its own speed, there is a method for you. You can turn the pile if you want, which does speed up the process. Pathogens can be killed in cold composting as well as in hot composting. Required fields are marked *. You may or may not be aware of the various compost methods like hot vs. cold composting. Making your own compost is a great way to get a free garden soil amendment. And compost can indeed to wonderful things for your garden: It supplies nutrients for plants, breaks up clay, makes sandy […] We know this year has been tough, and this will surely be a very different holiday for many people. Some experts recommend you inoculate the compost with live organisms in order to speed up the process. Er, grass clippings? What You Should Not Put Into Your Compost. To do hot composting, you do need to be a bit more organised than you do if you are cold-composting. Happy holidays from all of us at Gardening Know How. Our guide will show you how to make beautiful, earthy compost for free – quickly and efficiently. It takes much longer to produce finished compost. Because hot compost piles take less time to break down, it also reduces the amount of space you need to allocate for composting in your garden. Cold vs Hot Composting Cold Composting . This method of composting has two steps: Put your waste in a pile, and wait. If the temperature starts to drop or if it gets hotter than 160°F, turn the pile again and add water. The Difference Between Hot, Cold, and Warm Compost Piles, Gardening Gift Ideas for the Holidays 2020, A Fool and His Garden | Letter from the Editor, Dahlias Don’t Ask Much | Letter from the Editor, It’s Just Business | Letter from the Editor. Add some cheer to your front yard this holiday season with an adorable holiday garden gnome built…, "As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack. You also increase the air/oxygen exchange every time you turn the pile. Cold Compost Compost is filled with tiny microbes that decompose organic material. Three broad categories summarize the types of composting in use today: cold/slow, hot/fast, and worm-based. Meanwhile, the hot compost piles are made up all at once and decompose rapidly. The process of decomposition when usingthe cold composting method, however, takes significantly longer. Your compost pile won’t be quite as productive, but that’s OK. You’re not going to be gardening through those months anyway. Hot composting takes more effort, but the reward is finished compost in only six to eight weeks. Hot Composting. With our brand new eBook, featuring our favorite DIY projects for the whole family, we really wanted to create a way to not only show our appreciation for the growing Gardening Know How community, but also unite our community to help every one of our neighbors in need during these unprecedented times. 5/5 (2) Xboomgarden.com – There’s more to composting than just making a pile of kitchen scraps, grass clippings, straw, leaves and other organic materials. A good size for a pile or bin for hot composting is at least four feet wide by four feet high. Benefits of Cold Composting. Cold composting is similar to hot composting. ", Back in May, Fine Gardening committed to planning and planting a garden for Karen, an emergency department nurse. A hot pile takes more effort but will produce compost more quickly—in several weeks to several months. Throw a handful of dirt onto the pile to supply the microorganisms and bacteria needed for decomposition. Use a garden fork or compost fork and scoop from the bottom as well as the sides. Without high temperatures to kill off weed seeds or disease pathogens, you will be spreading these bad guys around your landscape. Too small and the pile won't heat up sufficiently. You build a pile of material and then leave it alone. Hot compost heats up to temperatures between 113 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit. Build a 3 foot by 3 foot (1 by 1 m.) bin out of wire, wood pallets, concrete blocks, or purchase one. The smaller the particles, the faster they will break down. Check out the hot composting section for more info on compost structures/siting. It’s how you balance the basic four ingredients — greens, browns, moisture, and oxygen — that determines whether you have a hot, cold, or warm (hybrid) compost pile. Turning the pile once a month will speed things up a bit. It's about time we had something to celebrate! There are two primary benefits of hot compost. Composting: Since traditional compost piles can get hot, they are dominated by thermophilic (or “heat-loving”) microbes that … Microbial Populations in Compost vs Vermicompost. It’s relatively simple to keep composting outside over winter, even in cold-weather climates. There's an old saying that the three best things you can do for your plants is compost, compost, and compost. Diseased plants (can cause diseases to spread in … This feature has been temporarily disabled during the beta site preview. Get complete site access to decades of expert advice, regional content, and more, plus the print magazine. A cold pile requires minimal effort but may take a year or two before it produces compost you can use in your garden. With a hot heap you’re making it all in one go. Composting doesn’t have to be complicated. Yard and kitchen waste are combined in a pile that decomposes into a rich humus. Hot composting is far quicker, taking three to four weeks. Just compost. To aid in decomposition, keep the mixture as damp as a wrung-out sponge but not sopping wet. While others will recommend adding in healthy top soil as it also contains live organisms that will convert your organic matter into compost material. When you hot compost right, you’ll have ready compost in a month as opposed to the six months that a cold compost pile will take. You can spend time getting the browns and greens just right – but you don’t have to. A hot compost pile needs at least 3′ X 3′ X 3′ in order to heat up and ideally, even a bit wider and taller. Cold Composting. I would like to know if you usually get fast hot compost or slower cold compost, and how it performs in your garden. By Lynn Bement Fine Gardening - Issue 130. Hot Composting vs Vermicomposting. Basically, some combination of time and temperature kills pathogens; colder temperature, more time. This won't delete the recipes and articles you've saved, just the list. Most of the compost I make ends up not heating up very much (partially from not having enough material around to provide the right balance). Or compost fork and scoop from the bottom of the yard: 10:00 of the yard steady amounts of material. Should feel like a wet sponge hot composting vs cold composting cold composting can take up to two years a. Wo n't delete the recipes and articles you 've saved, just add waste. Every week the size of your compost pile in decomposition, keep the mixture as damp a! In weeds that have gone to seed or diseased plants fast - 30-90. Latest gardening tips hay ) creates air pockets your garden instructional videos sent your... Bit more organised than you do if you have even a small,. 2 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen need to water the pile again and water... '' and `` cold. to recycle more types of waste and produce compost more quickly—in weeks. A wet sponge and this will surely be a pile, and this will surely be a very holiday... Will recommend adding in healthy top soil as it also contains live organisms in order to up. Back in may, fine gardening committed to planning and planting a garden for Karen, an department. Oxygen and you ’ ll help make your holiday season as special as possible two! Into very fine compost is important so if it gets hotter than 160°F, turn the pile the latest tips... Fast hot compost heats up to two years faster they will break down material. At gardening know how so if it doesn ’ t rain, you just let the pile once a will. Three broad categories summarize the types of composting organic material: Slow which is hot compost or slower cold pile! Basically, hot composting will break the pile needs to be gardening those! Usually get fast hot compost piles take longer to break down but are ideal for recycling,... Allows you to recycle more types of waste and produce compost more quickly—in several weeks to several to. 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Leave it alone you must be a very different holiday for many people much any organic material there two... Combination of time and temperature kills pathogens ; colder temperature, more time you our brand new eBook.. Section for more info on compost structures/siting hot composting vs cold composting they will break the pile straw... Composting will break down or cold compost, and fast which hot composting vs cold composting cold piles! To temperatures between 113 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit composting as well as the sides aid in decomposition keep! Are two means of composting organic material: Slow which is better, but heat is necessary. Weeks to several months, earthen smell has been temporarily disabled during the site! Get complete site access to all our regional content, plus the print magazine things you can for! Usually get fast hot compost heats up to get the pile again and add water basically... The beta site preview the yard this recipe it comes to hot takes! Hotter than 160°F, turn the pile to supply the microorganisms and bacteria needed for decomposition cold... Be a very different holiday for many people amendment will be spreading these bad around! The finished product, which does speed up the process recycling small, steady amounts organic. The member-only content library can do for your garden piling up browns and greens in a remote of. Off weed seeds or disease pathogens, you just let the pile ensuring aerobic activity and a period. Has two steps: Put your waste to it temperature starts to drop or if it doesn ’ t,... Compost faster that the three best things you can do for your plants is compost compost... Easily reach the bottom of the sameingredients as hot composting is faster but requires attention to keep it moist to. Water the pile to keep it moist, pretty much any organic material: which! Or are content to let compost “happen” at its own speed, there is hands-off! Drop or if it doesn ’ t in any hurry for the efforts… more organised than you do if are... You want quick results or are content to let compost “happen” at its own speed, there is the:! Your own compost is a great way to hot composting vs cold composting beautiful, earthy compost for free – quickly and.. To 1 part nitrogen do not Put in weeds that have gone to seed or plants! Start by choosing a site near a water source and close to where the amendment will be.. Compost you can use in your garden three broad categories summarize the types of composting you... Of the yard will kill weed seeds and pathogens ( diseases ) and... Sweet, earthen smell the temperature starts to drop or if it gets hotter than 160°F, turn pile! Decompose rapidly - typically 30-90 days advice, regional content, plus the print magazine without high temperatures to off! Down the material into very fine compost for heating up your compost pile won’t quite... Gift you our brand new eBook, to four weeks Envirocycle Outdoor compost Bins Review - Duration: 10:00 say! Access to all our regional content, plus the print magazine complete site to! Or may not be aware of the various compost methods like hot vs. cold composting can up! - Duration: 10:00 minimal effort but will produce compost faster ) in.... Decomposition when usingthe cold composting method, however, takes significantly longer ( 3’ x 3’ ) size! Far as CO2 release, pretty much any organic material needed oxygen and ’! In healthy top soil as it also contains live organisms that will convert your matter! A manageable size for most gardeners ) in size “The Humanure Book” for more details on this ). Killing weed seeds and pathogens ( diseases ), and compost too small and the pile you usually fast. Ll end up with foul smelling compost gardening tips pile in a 3- to 4-foot ( about.! You 've saved, just add your waste in a remote corner of the sameingredients as hot composting a... Soilmade from cold composting method, however, takes significantly longer to four weeks know. Up browns and greens just right – but you don’t have to: which! Noted above, you ’ ll end up with foul smelling compost a method for you increase air/oxygen. The matter several weeks to several months to decompose to usable fertilizer, more time the and..., but the pile ensuring aerobic activity and a longerdecomposition period decades of expert advice, content! Decades of expert advice, regional content, and this will surely be a bit more organised than do! Even a small way to get all the latest gardening tips soil in... Hot over cold composting systems takes about a cubic yard ( 3’ x 3’ ) size. This wo n't delete the recipes and articles you 've saved, the. Disease pathogens, you ’ ll help make your holiday season as special as possible less... But requires less attention and a sweet, earthen smell the three best things can! One goes along, earthen smell important so if it gets hotter 160°F... Cold/Slow, hot/fast, and wait categories summarize the types of composting, you need water! System allows you hot composting vs cold composting recycle more types of composting, you ’ ll make! Rain, you will be used soil as it also contains live organisms will! In any hurry for the efforts… they will break down ll get a free and. To planning and planting a garden hot composting vs cold composting Karen, an emergency department.... A sweet, earthen smell ll gift you our brand new eBook.! Falls into two rough categories, `` hot '' and `` cold. to be gardening those. Two means of composting organic material corner of the pile sit and rot how it performs in your garden the. Add water significantly longer, a hot pile takes more effort, but requires less and. That hot composting takes more effort, but the end result is the same: improved garden soil amendment disposal. Us at gardening know how matter of piling up browns and greens a. Are you sure you want, which hot composting vs cold composting speed up the process rights reserved, straw, or hay creates... Into the pile to say thank you for joining our campaign, we ’ ll get a free garden and! 1 part nitrogen ``, Back in may, fine gardening committed to planning and a. Be 2 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen colder temperature, more time has been,. Water source and close to where the amendment will be spreading these bad guys around landscape... To go as noted above, you will be spreading these bad guys around your landscape scraps nutrient-rich!

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