Growing Green

Trench Composting

Yum, yum, right?  Yeah.  For the worms in my garden.  A little romaine, some banana peels, apple bits, pear peelings, etc.

I have been playing around with composting lately.  The method I am using is referred to as “trench composting.”  See, I can’t have chickens in my HOA like I wanted to try, so I played around with composting my kitchen scraps.  I didn’t want to spend $80-$100 on a fancy composter, but I also wanted to try and incorporate the benefits of composting in my garden.

First, I tried drilling holes in plastic buckets that once held icing from a local store that I was able to score for free.  The idea is that you mix the proper greens and browns in the bucket, keep it somewhat moist and roll it around every couple of days to mix it up and in a while you pry off the lid, and you have compost!  Great idea!  Reduce your household waste and benefit the garden!  Only problem was it didn’t work at all for me.  First of all, the holes in the bucket that let in air also let in gnats which would swarm every time I tried to roll it around to mix it or take off the cover to add more compost.  Gross.  Then I was really bad at remembering to keep it moist so it completely dried out and then it just sat there petrifying.  Eventually, I hated the idea of even touching the bucket.  I think I ended up just pitching the whole thing.

Now.  Think about trench composting.  This time of year, my garden is empty, but they ground is not frozen yet here.  Trench composting is perfect for this scenario!  Basically all you do is gather kitchen scraps for the day or two and then when you are ready, go dig a small hole in the ground in your garden bed.  You dump the contents of the bowl into the hole and then attack it with a shovel, breaking it up into smallish pieces (makes it more appetizing for those worms).  Then you mix a tiny bit of dirt in and cover it with the rest of the dirt.  Then you walk away.  End of story.  You don’t have to turn it, add to it, keep it moist.  NOTHING.  Which is perfect for me, because I frequently forget to do even important things and have little to no brain power left over for babysitting garbage.

My husband and I have been doing this for about a month and a half in one garden bed.  We just dig little holes in a row so we know where we have already dug and throw the scraps in, covering it with dirt when done.  I dug up the area that we started the composting in today with the intention of taking a picture to show that all was decomposing as expected but there was nothing to show you.  In digging around the area all I encountered were a few egg shell pieces.  Seriously.  Everything else had already been decomposed into the soil, feeding and nourishing.  I am about to cover it with a layer of leaf mulch and work on another bed.  It is done.  That’s my kind of composting.  No bin, no visible compost pile, no mess, no gnats. All you can see is the dirt.

I believe that the reason this method is usually referred to as trench composting is because when you are in a growing season, you can keep doing this, you just dig a trench next to the row of plants and bury the compost there so it feeds your plants as they grow.  But in the off season it is just as simple as digging a little hole and dumping the scraps in.  Happy gardening!


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