Composting Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Kitchen Scrap Smoothies for Winter Composting

So close and yet so far!

In winter, outdoor composters are often inaccessible because they are either located too far from the home at the end of any icy path or they become covered in snow and hard to dig out. Besides, who really wants to don the entire winter paraphernalia (thick coat, wool cap, gloves, winter boots, etc.) just to get to the compost bin every time you have a few scraps to compost? But you still shouldn’t let winter cold stop you from recycling your kitchen waste!

Ready for a kitchen scrap smoothie.

Instead, install a blender on the counter and place your kitchen waste (vegetable scraps, fruit peelings, eggshells, coffee grounds, etc.) in it. When the blender is almost full (after two to three days in most cases), add a cup of water and turn it on. You’ll get a sort of extra thick compost smoothie you only have to freeze until spring.

Where you store the smoothies will depend on your situation. I stick a plastic pail out by the back door and dump them there, then put a lid on it so it doesn’t fill with snow. I only have to open the door, lean out, dump and cover: no need to dress for the cold.

Of course, though, in my cold climate the purée will stay frozen all winter. Where temperatures regularly hover above freezing, your backdoor compost pail may start to smell as time goes on. If so, store the mush in the freezer instead. Just pour it into recycled plastic bags or containers. (Do label the containers, though: it can be sooo annoying when that frozen spaghetti sauce you thought you were thawing out turns out to be kitchen scrap mush!)

When your outdoor compost bin becomes accessible again in the spring, just thaw out your kitchen scrap purée and pour it into the composter. Finely chopped up as it is, it will decompose very quickly.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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