8 Things to remember about composting during the winter

Winter does not stop a lot of species from thriving beneath the snow.

Hot composting takes a minimum of 3 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet (5 feet is optimal) to cool to ambient temperatures due to limiting variables and averages 150 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit for a short time.

Burning home compost piles spontaneously is unusual and mainly caused by indoor composting and carbon-to-nitrogen imbalances.

For spontaneous combustion, compost temperatures must reach 300 400 F (150 200 C). This is unlikely in Michigan winters.

Do not confuse compost steam in cooler months with fire. Actively managed compost piles steam and melt snow all winter.

Winter compost piles can stay warmer by covering their cores with straw or leaves.

If you don't plan to regularly maintain your compost, cold composting and sheet mulching are fine for leaves and lower pile temperature.

Due to lower decomposition temperatures, these plants may survive and "overwinter" in your compost.