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Posts: 37
Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 1:22 am
Location: Hot Springs Arkansas

Compost Trench Vs. Compost Bin/Heap

So two days ago I dug a 2X4 12 inch deep trench, I was going to use it for my carrot bed, the soil was to rocky and I was lacking a screen to sift with so I just put in about 10lbs of compost from my kitchen, mainly eggshells, banana peels and coffee grounds, then covered it level with tender weeds/grass clumps, I was curious so I went out this morning to see that the level of the trench had sunken at the least five inches, I pulled back the layer of green stuff to discover that there wasn't a banana peel let alone an easily visible egg fragment left, now I understand that a few of the inches was from the green stuff drying. I am going to start shallow trenches around my plants and fill and cover. I figure somewhere in the ground is about 8lbs in two days of worm castings, I should just call them all around my plants!

Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

Re: Compost Trench Vs. Compost Bin/Heap

That's going to be great for your garden! Trench composting. It's said that the decomposition PROCESS adds a lot to soil fertility, beyond just the effects of the PRODUCT (compost), so composting in place is great.
I just pull out rocks when I see them. I keep small pots at the corners of the gardens and toss gravel pieces in. When one gets full I dump it on my gravel driveway. I may not have as many rocks as you, but rest assured, if you remove them steadily things will improve over time. We have to get over our desire for instant gratification.

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Compost Trench Vs. Compost Bin/Heap

I have done that for years. It is a type of green manure composting.

The hole is best if it is 18 inches deep and you compost high nitrogen and high moisture materials that will decompose quickly. You want a deep hole because something may come by and decide to dig it up. That and the fact that the mound sinks in a few weeks is why the area should not be planted for about a month. Mulching it is a good idea though, one to deter the diggers and also to keep weeds down.

I usually don't put undecomposed carbon in the pit. Buried browns take longer to break down and while they are doing so, they suck nitrogen out of the soil and if you plant over them, you need to supplement the with more nitrogen. Nitrogen is the hardest thing to supply if you are gardening organically. If you want you can put some finished compost in the hole instead.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.
Full Member
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 1:22 am
Location: Hot Springs Arkansas

Re: Compost Trench Vs. Compost Bin/Heap

I am thinking about digging a trench length wise at the 'top' of my garden's slope and using that as a compost trench, letting the rainwater gather and make a tea that will hopefully run down through the rest of the garden, and help with the soil erosion that I am trying to figure out. I have I think an area that use to be a brick home that was bulldozed. I am starting a brick mound for building retaining walls for a mint/strawberry pyramid for next year on top of the compost trench I created. Since I have to make my own soil/use from the garden, I need to replace the stuff that is washed away before I can use for these raised beds next year.

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