When to Compost in the Winter

Advice for the Home Gardener from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County

Garden Compost Pile
Garden Compost Bin (Pile)
Client Calls the Help Desk (tel#: 925/608-6683)
Thank you for contacting the UC Master Gardener Program Help Desk. It was nice to speak with you this morning. You asked about when to spread compost on your garden--whether you should do it now or wait until spring. There is no wrong time to put compost into the garden, but the microbes that decompose the compost and make nutrients available work much slower in the winter. As soon as the soil warms up, the microbes work faster. If you choose to wait until spring, make sure you apply it at least a couple of weeks before you plant.

Here's a link to information about rapid composting you might find  interesting: https://vric.ucdavis.edu/pdf/compost_rapidcompost.pdf.
And more information about using compost in the home garden can be found at:

Please don't hesitate to contact us again with further gardening questions.

Help Desk of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (SEH)

Note:  UC Master Gardeners Program of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available almost year-round to answer your gardening questions.  Except for a few holidays (e.g., last 2 weeks December), we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 2380 Bisso Lane, Concord, CA 94520. We can also be reached via telephone:  (925) 608-6683, email: ccmg@ucanr.edu, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us/. MGCC Blogs can be found at http://ccmg.ignore.edu/HortCoCo/ You can also subscribe to the Blog.

By Steve I Morse
Author - Contra Costa County Master Gardener