Modern Composting Ideas

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composting for a new generationMicrobes and bacteria haven’t changed, but how you approach composting can. There are some great tips for the modern gardener in a book by Michelle Balz, Composting for a New Generation.

Surprisingly, not all gardeners take advantage of composting. For some, it’s easier to buy from a garden center. But buying compost kind of goes against knowing what’s in your food. I mean, do you know what’s in retail compost? It might scare you!

Reduce your own waste by recycling it into compost. It’s free fertilizer and soil conditioner that comes with peace of mind.

It’s not as difficult, time-consuming, or gross as you might think. You’ll find some interesting composting techniques in Balz’s book.

Composting Indoors

Though it sounds so simple, Balz agrees that adding a compost bucket to your kitchen counter is never going to give you real compost.

Turning food scraps into compost requires good airflow, adequate moisture, heat, and microbes. No matter how pricey, an indoor composting appliance just dehydrates your scraps.

vermicompostBokashi isn’t composting either. This is just fermenting your food scraps. It’s a pre-conditioning step before adding them to a compost pile, but a good one. You can learn more about what fermented organic matter can offer your garden by investigating Korean Natural Farming methods.

The only way you can really make compost indoors is with a worm farm, which makes vermicompost. But worm manure, like cow manure, isn’t true compost.

However, both are beneficial for your soil and garden plants. Worms are a better urban garden fit; compact and the waste is instantly usable, while cow manure needs aging.

Composting Outdoors

Nature invented composting to reuse everything that lives on Earth. It has no waste. Everything goes back into the ground.

trench composting

Organic matter that isn’t in direct contact with the soil can take at least three times longer to break down. Worms and microbes aren’t inclined to breach high-quality weed fabric. Digging a trench and burying the bin is a composting technique Balz shares in her book. It takes about a year, and you don’t have to turn it.

submerged composting

Of course, you can also start amending your garden soil before the compost is finished. I love this technique that Balz shares in her book.

Put the compost pile in the garden on unplanted space, but move it every few weeks. In doing so, you’re turning the pile, putting the newer stuff on the bottom where the heat will break it down faster. And the soil beneath it is already somewhat enriched just from hosting the mobile composting pile for a short time. Ingenious!

Images courtesy of 1 Million WomenLittle House in the SuburbsInsteading, and Vegetable Gardener (respectively).

Last updated by Catherine Sherriffs on 27/04/2020.


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Tammy Clayton

Contributing Writer at Garden Culture Magazine

Tammy has been immersed in the world of plants and growing since her first job as an assistant weeder at the tender age of 8. Heavily influenced by a former life as a landscape designer and nursery owner, she swears good looking plants follow her home.