An effective storage system is the key to successfully using the materials each season provides. In the fall, collect and shred fallen leaves. The best use for them now is as mulch for trees, shrubs, and garden beds. Excess leaves can be stored – leaves from 100 bags can be shredded and put in a 4’x4’x4′ container. Some decomposition will take place over the winter, but not a significant amount. Continue to put kitchen scraps in the pile, but it’s not necessary to turn in cold climes.
If you want your compost pile to stay active during the winter, you’ll want an enclosed bin with insulated sides or a cold weather composter. A black bin situated in a sunny spot can help trap solar radiation during cold spells. Keep the pile as large as possible so that heat generated from decomposition will endure. You can also stack bales of straw along the sides of your bin to help retain the heat.
In areas with a cold winter, spring is the best time to start the compost pile in earnest. There’s an abundance of grass clippings and trimmings. Summer is the time the compost pile is working at its peak range of decomposition, especially if it has been turned once or twice. Cover and store the finished compost, or use it, and start another batch. With enough organic waste, you can produce several batches of highly managed compost during the summer.