Compost Techniques: Composting in Situ

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We all know that composting is essential in the garden, but compost piles can soon overflow at this time of year when you’re cutting back perennials and pulling up spent vegetables. If you’re wondering what to do with all that extra organic matter, it’s worth considering in-situ composting.

In-situ composting, or composting directly where you’re going to grow, is simple and it’s a great way to deal with a glut of compostable material. Worms and microbes in the soil will do a fantastic job of turning all that organic matter into crumbly, nutrient-rich compost, right where you want to use it.

In this short video we demonstrate three easy ways to compost directly on and in your garden beds to help you improve your soil and prepare the soil for bumper crops next year!

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Hugh Coleridge says:

What a very good idea!

G'Maw's Garden says:

don't forget your coffee and tea grounds too

Linda Mason says:

I know this has probably been asked before. Can you add eggshells to this mix. Thanks. Linda

T. Lynne Lacosse says:

definitely going to give this a try

…my compost bins never seemed to break down and they were too difficult to turn … so I took a tip from a friend and starting adding a bit of soil to the top of them and planting my squash in them … great way to make sure compost gets watered

…however, always too much compost and no place to put it so I will start burying it in the garden …two birds.. one stone … compost dealt with and soil enriched … thanks so much for this idea

Aloha Farms says:

I do this too! I create long trenches that remind me of graves. As I dig, I pile the soil next to the trench, because I will use it to backfill the trench. Into the trench goes small tree branches, spent corn or sunflower stalks and any other organic material that's no longer living, along with kitchen vegetable or fruit scraps. Then I cover it all back up with the soil, and then cover the whole mound with organic matter. Last year, on one of the year-old mounds, a pumpkin vine grew like crazy and took over a huge area as it created dozens of pumpkins. You could see it growing bigger every day! It's a great method because you get rid of unsightly garden waste and enrich the garden soil. Thank you for the wonderful video – I enjoy all of your videos :)

Julie Beal says:

I've never done this, but WILL be doing it now!!! :)

Steven Lewis says:

Don't bury flowering comfrey leaves – they grow!

Laurie Molnar says:

My neighbor and I have tons of live oak leaves all year round and she has had her gardener put them in my compost bin- I think this will be an alternative to overdoing the oak leaves and spreading them around a bit

hundimzug says:

I began composting in bins but now I just use the trenches. The more I know the more I realize that Nature's methods are always the best…

Michael Ball says:

I know you won't be too offended if I write that this video clip won't go down as one of your best. I have nevertheless given it a like as I want you lads to do well and wish you offer you every encouragement to face your adversities.

Bill Gavin says:

Years ago I buried my kitchen waste next to my growing tomato plants. I had so many tomatoes that year…I think I should do it again.

Green Fire Herbs says:

What kind of leaves are added to the top? Green weed leaves or fallen leaves from trees? I'd rather not use grass clippings.

Rob Backyard Gardenerr says:

Great video. I just started my pile of dying plants right on top of my soil and was wondering if I should do more with it.

HChrisH200 - Haphazard Homestead says:

Composting in place is really is a nice way to go! I sow a winter cover crop on top, too. Protecting the soil from the pounding of the winter rain really makes a difference in my region of Oregon's Willamette Valley.

Carolyn Homoly says:

I have been using the trench method with kitchen scraps and garden clean up for the last 2 years in my 8' by 12' raised beds. My 6 beds are loaded with worms, especially where the trenches are and everything decomposes quickly. I have not been topping the row with grass clippings, but I will try that next year. I grew 135 lbs of butternut squash this year from 5 plants that volunteered in one bed, and my sweet potato harvest is averaging 9 lbs per plant, largest sweet potato was harvested today at 4.5 lbs!

Kyle Coulson says:

I've heard of people burring fish also

Farm Fresh says:

AND no rotating and aeration of the compost. Works well for those of us that can no longer physically turn a compost pile.

Madeline Fine says:

love the name – I call it guerrilla composting. I do it on the sly around the condos where I live because no one else feeds the soil .

Steve y says:

This is a great idea. You may want to avoid using diseased material so it doesn't show up again next year.My compost piles are overflowing so I will start using this method too.Thanks

phxtonash says:

Nice hoop house

phxtonash says:

Just like Grandma did!

JuicingGardener (Sheryl Mann) says:

Love this! I do it in my container gardens too.

HorseyPeeps says:

Seams like a really good idea… I think I'll give it a try.  Thanks.  – AJ

Thomas Taylor says:

I have never thought of this. This is a really good idea. What about the raccoon's though? Do you have trouble with animals getting into it?

annkus3 says:

I love the compost pits better than the compost bins. Only because of the fruit flies. So I will be doing the pits now more than the bin. Great idea, thanks for posting.

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