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<  Composting, Mulch, and Soils  ~  Calling all trench/pit/spot composters!

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:17 pm
User avatarJoined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:48 pmPosts: 41
I rely on trench/pit/spot composting as my only source of compost. I have a small yard (No, smaller than that. Smaller. Smaller. Smaller still. A wee bit smaller. There, now you've got the idea), and have no room for a compost pile (plus, my home owners association doesn't allow them). I've tried a bin, but I couldn't get it to heat up. So now I bury all my yard and food waste that doesn't make it into the worm bin. I dig a hole or trench (depending on how much waste I have to dispose of) in any empty spot and bury the waste. In the Fall, I dig big trenches all over the place and bury leaves and garden waste (disease-free only).

Recently, I've started tossing food waste (veg only, no meats or oils) right into the planting holes when I transplant plants into the garden. I've noticed no effect of this, positive or negative, but I figure I'm already digging a hole, so I might as well put it to good use. This method of composting works really well for me.

Anyone else do this? I'd love to read more about it.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:45 am
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:21 amPosts: 1Location: Emeryville, CA
If you want to see some more dramatic results from your trenches, try adding worms. Bentley over at has been running a trench worm project for a couple of years now with great results for his crops.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:41 pm
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:08 pmPosts: 187Location: Zone 5
You are not alone, Katxena, I've done exactly the same thing. Even though I have plenty of room for compost, in the fall when I'm tidying up the vegetable garden, I dig a trench down the middle of my raised boxs and stuff it full of anything that's not too course. By spring planting, I can't find it.

This doesn't take care of all my waste as I have a huge landscaped area and lots of leaves. Plus a scavenge around the neighborhood. But it seems like a good way to cut back on hauling compost around. It think it was Abbeysdad that mentioned, "Let the garden do the work."

Pain had nearly put an end to my landscaping passion. If you're in the same boat, give NOPALEA a try.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:27 pm
User avatarJoined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:48 pmPosts: 41
Here's something I've been wondering for a while -- what breaks down the trench composted materials? Is it just the various bacteria in the soil?

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:34 pm
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 5:24 amPosts: 70
Bacteria, fungi, worms, and insects.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:48 pm
User avatarJoined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:48 pmPosts: 41
Interesting. I have very few worms in my outdoor beds, so I've always wondered what's doing the work in their absence.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:38 pm
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:56 amPosts: 34Location: Raleigh
I am more of a spot composter and it seems to work well for me. I use this method, when I have just finished building a new compost pile in my bin and I have more vegetable scraps to get rid of.

In those times, I dig a hole in a future planting area 10-14" deep, put in the scraps and cover. Nines times out of ten, I forget I even planting the scrapes unless I specially use that spot for a future plant.

I think it is a great way to get rid of extra kitchen scraps.

Life is short, plant something!
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:56 am
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:29 pmPosts: 1357Location: Sunol, CA (9B)
When I build a raised bed I lay down a heavy layer of stemmy stuff and cover it with soil. Anything relatively fine I use for mulch and let it compost in place on top of my beds.


Here you can see some collards and spend brewing grains along the back edge of a big bed.

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