Good Gardening: Trench Composting

Oct 5, 2015

Credit John Fischer

 

  This is the time of year when you wish you could be in two places at once.  Up in the mountains for a final fall backpack trip, and out in the garden finishing up the summer harvest season- or maybe three places if you have to be at work too.  Your garden has a similar problem.  Summer crops are still growing, and winter vegetables, or cover crops should be growing in the same spots.  Even worse, there's no place to put all the corn stalks, tomato vines, and overgrown baseball bat zucchinis.  The solution to all your problems- trench composting.  Digging potatoes,  will leave a shallow grave sized hole in your yard.  It arouses suspicion among the neighbors, and gives you a perfect place to put all the spent garden material I listed earlier- and more. 

Credit John Fischer

  If you don't have taters to dig, just excavate an area about three feet wide, a foot and a half deep, and as long as you need to get rid of spent plants, fallen apples, weeds, and kitchen scraps.  Throw them in the hole, and cover it up with the dirt.  The result?  An instant patch of smooth unplanted ground with a fertilizer supply waiting below.  This is very much like lasagna composting where everything goes on top of the soil, and you wait for it to decompose.  But in trench composting you have a planting bed sooner, and an aching back almost instantly.  You can trench compost your kitchen scraps all winter long by digging the trench now, then throwing in a load, and covering it with soil as needed.  Just remember there's a ditch out in your yard that might catch you on one of those December evenings when emptying the compost is done in the dark.  Copyright 2015 KLCC.