Trench Composting

June 14, 2009 at 1:29 am (Composting)

DSC00055 Here’s an interesting approach to  composting. I need walk-ways in my garden  in order to water my plants. Rather than  leave a strip of earth to do nothing but allow  me thoroughfare, I thought I’d turn my    walkway into a compost pile. This is how you do it.

DSC00056Dig a trench in the strips where you plan to walk. Fill her up with table scraps (no meat!), yard clippings, basically any vegie matter that is nice and wet. Then cover it up with either dirt or wood chips. I recently bought a chipper-shredder for 3″ branches and less. I pruned one of the trees and made about fifty square yards of chip material. As I’ve filled up my trench with table scraps (some of it being the very vegies I’ve grown in the garden, roots and leaves), I pour the chips on top.

DSC00060 After a couple days the pile decomposes and the surface  drops, allowing room to add another layer of scraps  depending on how deep you dig the trench. My  trenches are as wide as my foot and about ten inches or  one foot deep. What I also like about trench composting  is it loosens and aerates the soils. This permits you  plant’s roots to grow deeper and more free. If you soil is  hard and  clay-like (as mine), your plants can become kind of ‘pot-bound’. Healthy soil is loose.

DSC00067Keep adding layers of wet vegie waste, dirt/chips, repeat, until your compost trench pile is slightly higher than ground level. In about 6 months it will transform into rich earth/dirt and you can rotate your crop from an old row onto the trench/walkway. Be sure to mix old dirt in so the nitrogen is not too concentrated. If soil is too rich, it can burn the plant roots. Once that’s done, start a new trench/walkway on the old soil.  God Bless!

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