Winter Composting with the Mantis ComposTumblers
Although quick hot composting relies on average temperatures usually found in the spring season onwards, it may be possible to achieve a degree of cold composting through the winter season.
Is Composting possible in winter?
Normal Hot Composting in a Mantis ComposTumbler requires an average daily temperature above 5c, 40f. Below this temperature, outdoor composting is best put on hold until the warmer springtime weather arrives.
Is it possible to keep the Mantis ComposTumbler warm?
By keeping the Mantis ComposTumbler under cover, such as under a car port or in a garage, the average temperature can easily be increased above 5c/40f. This allows for Hot Composting deep into the winter and possibly throughout the winter. It is always worth considering the location of the Composter when placed indoors or under cover, that in use a degree of liquid may well be spilled from the chambers during Compost production. This liquid is a very beneficial fertiliser in its own right and should be collected if possible. There is also the risk of compost spillage during the loading and unloading of the unit.
What do I do with part cooked compost in the Mantis ComposTumbler
at the end of the season?
Obviously fully Cooked compost is best for your garden, all of the beneficial properties of natural compost are maximised ready for release into your soil. It is always best practice at the end of a composting season to empty your ComposTumbler, storing part cooked compost is not good practice, it will not progress into compost before the warmer spring weather. But, even partly cooked compost has benefits for your garden, it can act as a good soil conditioner or mulch around plants, dependent of course on how complete the composting process is.
The Mantis ComposTumblers were designed and built to provide you with years of trouble free composting. To ensure your composter is kept in good condition we would recommend only the very basic end of season maintenance. After the last batch of compost is made and removed from the drum, rinse the inside of the drum using a hosepipe. Leave the drum with the door open and the door aperture facing downwards, to allow the drum to dry. Once dry, close the door but leave the door facing downwards so that the drum will not collect water during the winter.
Performing this simple maintenance at the end of each season will help to ensure your Composter give you years of trouble free service and helps to prevent corrosion. Exposed external fittings can be given a light spray with a protective lubricant such as WD40, top further protect against the winter elements.
Protective covers are also available for the Compact, Original and Compost-Twin ComposTumbler models.
If I cannot compost because it is too cold, what can I do with compostible material?
Leaves, garden cuttings, paper and certain kitchen scraps can be saved until the outside average temperature rises and hot composting can begin again. Autumn leaves can be stored in bin liners for spring composting, as can newspapers and other paper materials. Paper based items such as bags, napkins, cardboard and wrapping paper can all be turned into compost but avoid trying to compost plastic coated papers and wrappings, these may take years to break down and may add unwanted chemicals into to compost mix.
Selected kitchen vegetables scraps can be stored for composting, use a plastic container with a fitted lid, stored in a cool place, but be careful not to store scraps that may decompose even in cold weather and create unwelcome odours. A plastic container with a lid is important to deter insects and vermin from using the stored scraps as a warn haven over the winter.