SOB
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Composting without a pile?

I've been reading quite a bit here recently about composting. As much as I would love to start a compost pile or bin I don't have anywhere in my small yard to hide it so it isn't an eyesore to me and all the neighbors.

Is there a downfall to spreading the items around the garden that would normally be put in the compost bin or pile throughout the year? I'm sure it would take longer for most items to break down but I would still be getting the benefits of adding compost, correct? Also some items would act as a mulch for the garden...

We are mostly talking leaves, grass clipping, spent brewing grains, veggie scraps, UCG...just basic stuff.

Thanks!

toxcrusadr
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You are describing what many refer to as 'sheet composting.' Or just plain mulching. :) And yes, it does work! In fact, this the way Mother Nature does it. One thing to keep in mind is that your kitchen scraps are more likely to rest in peace if you bury them. A practice referred to as 'trench composting.' Yes, we have a name for everything.
Tox

gumbo2176
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I have 3 compost piles but do put some leaves and grass clippings in my vegetable garden area between the rows to act as mulch. I'll first put down a layer of newspaper or cardboard then place the organic stuff over that. That way, it keeps things fairly moist, reducing the need to water and keeps the weeds down. I put the kitchen waste, coffee grounds etc. in one of my piles and not directly in the garden but I don't see where that would really hurt to do it your way, just take longer to compost.

I don't worry about the neighbors so I don't really care if they see my compost piles. The excess produce I give them seems to work wonders for their eyesight.

rot
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Good sheet

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It sounds more like mulching. Takes a little longer for some things to break down that way. Some stuff mulches better than others. Observe and adjust.
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rainbowgardener
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The other difference between compost pile and sheet composting or mulching is the variety. Compost from your compost pile is wonderful stuff because it contains every nutrient, trace mineral, etc there is from the big variety of stuff that gets all mixed up together. Harder to do that in any one spot, just spreading stuff. Also I can't put any veggie scraps loose in my garden, because all the critters out there will just dig them up - raccoons and woodchucks don't care if you bury the scraps, they are very good at digging!

What makes you think a compost pile is an eyesore? I should take picture of mine. It is green coated wire bin, so you hardly see the wires. I add fall leaves on top of anything I put in the pile, so mostly it looks like a square pile of leaves. Very inoffensive.
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SOB
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I guess most of the bins I've seen typically look dirty and trashy. Rainbow, I would like to see a picture to get an idea of what a nice one looks like. Before I was worried about the smell then I read that properly turning will take care of the smell. Now I'm starting to think it might not look too bad if I keep up with it.

I was thinking maybe doing two 3'x3'x3' bins next to each other made out of 4"x4"s and chicken wire. Give everything a few months in bin one, then turn to bin two and start re-filling bin one.

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rainbowgardener
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No smell, even with out a lot of turning. I dump my bucket of kitchen scraps on the pile, which sometimes get kind of stinky in the bucket (tight lid, not aerated). Cover it with a good layer of leaves and no smell. As long as you keep the green stuff covered and it is exposed to air and moisture, it shouldn't have any smell, even standing right next to it.
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Bobberman
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A simple compost just put in 5 or more - 3 foot high tomato post in a small 5 foot circle and wrap them with a green plastic coated wire fence or a plastic fence with small holes that you can buy anywhere!. Plant tomatoes or climbing peas or climbing beans or even cuks on the side where you see it most or the sun side is best. The crops will hide it and get benifit from the water coming out the bottom like compost tea! Tomatoes will do great and you can tie them to the post!!
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Also you can make the compost so that a foot area is open or has a place where you can disconnect the wire and have access to the compost for turning adding things or taking some of the finished compost material for the garden! There is no set way to make a compost! !
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toxcrusadr
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SOB, see the thread on Pictures of Your Compost Pile!
Tox



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