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Runningtrails
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Location: Barrie, Ontario,Canada

Sheet Composting

I toss all my banana , winter and summer, directly at the base of my rose bushes. It's suppose to deter aphids. My tea bags and coffee grounds get poured directly on the plants that like more acidic conditions. The vegetable waste gets laid direcly on the garden too and dug in slightly. It makes very nice mulch after just a short time. I do the same with the garden waste that doesn't have mildew or disease, just pile it around the plants as mulch, especially the comfrey. It makes great direct mulch. I like to make the leaves I pick up in plastic bags into leaf mould by watering them and just making a pile of plastic bags full of leaves then mulching the plants with it in the sprin. The paper bag dry ones I mow over and use for mulch.

I don't really have a compost "pile" but am wondering if I should start one. I don't know that I would have anything to put in it. Of course there is the question of what to do with the kitchen waste in the winter, but I have always just spread it around the garden on top of the snow. It's pretty much gone by spring, when it gets dug in around the plants.

I believe this is called "sheet composting". Is it better to put it all into one pile and let it heat up and degrade together? That seems like so much more work.

I don't keep weed waste that has seeds in it. That stuff, along with the mildewed and possibly diseased material gets tossed way out at the other end of the wild field or burned. What weeds I pull and hoe that have not gone to seed, are laid around the plants as mulch. I am short on mulch around here. I use whatever I have.

Artemesia
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Location: zone 5

Sheet composting

I think you are doing the right thing by incorporating your sheet compost. It is pretty much what I do. I have only found it worthwhile to do the extra work of a compost pile if you grow the really demanding crops like spinach, tomato, pepper, corn, etc. I do not grow them any more.

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OROZCONLECHE
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I Do The Same, I throw what i can ontop of my gardens, the only reason is I don't have a place to make a big compose pile, i did found a small woden box to make it my experiment compose for coming spring.
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rainbowgardener
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Small wooden box is not likely to produce real good results. Composting is an aerobic process, a little bit like a slow motion burning of your organic stuff. Just as a fire goes out when it is covered so no oxygen gets to it, so does your aerobic composting start. Unfortunately there are different, anaerobic bacteria, that will continue the decomposition process without air. They produce a slimy, stinky mess.

I collect kitchen scraps in a tightly closed bucket under my sink until I walk them out to the compost pile. So I know that while my compost pile never smells anything but a little earthy, the smell in that bucket, especially in warm temps can be enough to knock you over!

So you would need lots of air holes, since the wood is pretty air tight.

But smaller is not better for the composting process, which works best in the interior of a large pile.

But if you look up worm composting, aka vermicomposting, worm bins, etc. , that is a workable solution for people who are looking for small box composting, even indoors.

Otherwise, regular compost piles don't need to take up a very big footprint in your yard. Bins like this:

https://www.compostbins.com/compost-bins/compost-bins/wibo147cubicftcompostbin.cfm

take up 30x30 inches of yard space.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

john gault
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I compost because I like watching the process and looking at what inhabits the pile, but other than that there's really no need to. I could easily do as the OP does and be just fine.

The only thing I really need a compost pile for are the seed pods from my magnolia, because it drops tons of them and it'd be too much for my garden areas, if I didn't compost them I'd probably have to set them on the curb for pick-up. However, I don't produce enough food waste to really need a compost pile given the amount of mulched areas I have for sheet composting, but it's so fun to look at and see what shows up and sometimes I'm really :shock:

john gault
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Re: Sheet Composting

Runningtrails wrote:I don't really have a compost "pile" but am wondering if I should start one. I don't know that I would have anything to put in it. Of course there is the question of what to do with the kitchen waste in the winter, but I have always just spread it around the garden on top of the snow. It's pretty much gone by spring, when it gets dug in around the plants.

I believe this is called "sheet composting". Is it better to put it all into one pile and let it heat up and degrade together? That seems like so much more work.

I don't keep weed waste that has seeds in it. That stuff, along with the mildewed and possibly diseased material gets tossed way out at the other end of the wild field or burned. What weeds I pull and hoe that have not gone to seed, are laid around the plants as mulch. I am short on mulch around here. I use whatever I have.
It is called sheet composting and I do it at times, I don't bury the waste, but I do put it under a heavy layer of mulch https://sarasota.ifas.ufl.edu/compost-info/tutorial/compost-bins.shtml#no-bin

My compost pile is just a simple pile, which the above link simply calls Heap or Pile composting. I'm also short on mulch and many times I go around the neighborhood and pick up bags of leaves left on the curb for yardwaste pickup by the city.

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OROZCONLECHE
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Well my small wooden box is actually made with big gaps so air goes in with ease but maybe ill have to find a bigger space and I did add some worms to help out
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gardenscaper
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Location: Sunshine Coast, BC

I love the process of composting! As I'm in town part-time, away from by garden compost bins, I've made a compact compost system for the containers on my townhouse balcony using two large 20 gallon buckets. (I think they're 20 gal. - they're the industrial sized mayonnaise buckets.)

On one bucket, using a chisel and hammer, I punched several drainage holes in the bottom and did the same on the lid for air circulation and to allow rain water to enter. This first bucket is then stacked into the second one - this allows the second one to collect the compost tea that percolates through and prevents a muddy mess forming. The bucket combo is then placed under the eaves where it gets a nice mixture of sun and rain (I'll also water it in the summer with water from a rain barrel to keep it moist and add healthy micro-organisms) - I keep the lid loose in the summer for better air movement and secure it with a heavy pot. My compost bucket gets a nice variety of kitchen and container greens, depleted soil from containers, and brown layers from fall leaves and plant trimmings.

I start this process in the spring right after planting out the containers, mix it up every once in a while and by next spring I have a container of beautiful, rich compost complete with worms! (I don't add them, they just show up on their own.)

I know I can buy a bag of compost at the garden center, but this is way more fun!

toxcrusadr
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That's a great balcony composting system! Can you post a picture?

I'm guessing you have 5-gallon buckets, but only because I've never seen a 20-gallon container of mayo. :shock:
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Tilde
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I'm guessing 20 litres = 5 gallons
USDA Zone 10, Sunset Zone 25, 16 feet above sea level, surrounded by chem-turfers.

toxcrusadr
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That would explain it.

I once came across a mayo bucket with the label still intact on the side:

"SYSCO HEAVY DUTY MAYONNAISE"

I kid you not!
Tox

gardenscaper
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20 LITERS! Sorry for the confusion, volume measurements were always a challenge...

Here's a photo: It's not much to look at but is easily covered with a drop cloth of outdoor fabric which then becomes a nice plant stand, and it tucks easily into a corner where it's getting some winter sun. A clever person could tap a spigot into the bottom for easier access to the tea...[img][img]https://i1189.photobucket.com/albums/z429/gardenscaper/Compost%20Bucket/PB300040.jpg[/img][/img]
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Tilde
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I know you Canuks like Mayo but I was willing to concede 20 gal buckets of Mayo.

Now explain to me the part about how the worms get in. Seriously!
USDA Zone 10, Sunset Zone 25, 16 feet above sea level, surrounded by chem-turfers.

gardenscaper
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I should've just said 'a couple of big buckets'!

As for the worms, I think two sources are likely: the first being that I add a couple of layers of leaves in the fall and could pick some up there; the second being that I keep a container of moist, depleted potting soil beside the buckets and add a trowelful over the kitchen peelings, there may be some worms in the old soil. Perhaps I should say that I don't intentionally add worms - but, maybe they crawl in! I have snails on my potted coral bells and the pots are on the second floor... how the heck do they get up there?

john gault
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john gault wrote:I compost because I like watching the process and looking at what inhabits the pile, but other than that there's really no need to. I could easily do as the OP does and be just fine.

The only thing I really need a compost pile for are the seed pods from my magnolia, because it drops tons of them and it'd be too much for my garden areas, if I didn't compost them I'd probably have to set them on the curb for pick-up. However, I don't produce enough food waste to really need a compost pile given the amount of mulched areas I have for sheet composting, but it's so fun to look at and see what shows up and sometimes I'm really :shock:
Well...now I also sheet compost and no longer have a compost pile. This is all in an attempt to speed up the process of building up my garden soil.

I've been collecting a ton of leaves and heavily mulching these areas of my yard and I also leveled my compost pile and added it to the garden and all kitchen scraps now go into the garden, no digging, just put it all in the bottom of the mulch.

I will start up my compost pile again in the spring, but for now it's been mulched over.

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