There is no wrong time to start a compost bin. Your compost pile will generate its own heat, so it can actually succeed year round in almost any climate. While it may be easiest to compost during the spring and summer months, it will benefit you and your garden if you compost all year long.
Composting in the Spring
Spring is an ideal time to start composting because this is when you might also plant your garden. During this warmer weather, the contents in the compost bin are able to break down more easily.
As the weather warms up, remember to keep the compost moist so it does not dry out.
Composting in the Fall
Consider beginning a compost bin in the fall, when you are cleaning up your garden and preparing for the cold months. If you start composting at this time, your pile will have time to grow so it will certainly be ready by spring. Your bin will be a great place to put the dead leaves you rake up, rather than bagging them and sending them to a landfill.
As the winter months roll in, you may notice that your compost pile is not thriving like it was in the warmer months. In cold weather, the natural materials will not break down as easily as they did in the heat. Don't worry—as long as temperatures stay above freezing, your compost will continue to thrive. Continue adding to the pile as usual.
If you decide to maintain your compost bin all year long, consider starting a second bin. Alternatively, you can stop tossing food scraps in for a while. This will help stop your compost pile from getting too large to handle.