Compost Techniques: Composting in Situ

[Music] Hello! You’ve caught me clearing the last the
bean crop. At the end of the growing season, piles of cleared crops like this are a common sight – but what to do with them all? You could just add all this
material to the compost heap, but an alternative is to simply leave it
right here on the ground. Call ‘in-situ composting’, this is a fantastic way of
building up the soil fertility for next year’s crops. In this video, we’ll show you
how to do it. Composting in-situ is a great way to cope with lots of spent crops or sudden gluts of kitchen waste, for example when processing
fruits and vegetables for winter storage. Composting directly on or in the ground can divert organic material away from overflowing compost heaps, while directly improving the ground for next year’s crops. Finer material such as annual weeds, carrot tops and vegetable peelings decompose relatively fast. You can simply lay this material on the soil surface before covering it over with a thin layer of
well-rotted garden compost or manure. This is a simple but effective way to supplement traditional end-of-season applications of organic matter. By spring the material should have rotted down
into the ground leaving behind a beautifully rich surface ready for
sowing or planting. Compost ingredients can also be buried in trenches to
improve the nutrient content and moisture holding capacity of the soil. To make a compost trench,
simply dig out a trench about a foot (30cm) deep. Compost trenches are commonly prepared for vegetables like climbing beans that are grown in rows. The rich, moisture-retentive soil left behind will ensure
plenty of produce over the cropping period. With the trench dug, simply fill
it up with your compost ingredients. Suitable ingredients include annual
weeds which haven’t flowered, grass clippings, the chopped up remains of spent crops, and kitchen waste such as apple cores or vegetable peelings. Fill to at least 4 inches (10cm) deep, then cover over with a layer of leaves or grass clippings. Fill the remainder of the trench with the excavated soil. If you plan to plant a row of crops directly on top of the trench and need to locate it in spring, simply mark the position of each end
so you can easily find it in a few months’ time. Compost pits use the same principle as
trenches. Dig a hole fill, it with your organic waste, and cover with a topping of grass clippings or leaves. You can space multiple compost pits in close proximity,
creating pockets of nutrient-rich material that will feed the microbes and
worms in the surrounding soil. Compost pits are great for creating nutrient-rich
and moisture-retentive reservoirs for thirsty and hungry plants such as zucchini (courgettes), squash, or tomatoes. Plant directly on top of pits that were made
in the autumn, or dig and fill fresh pits in spring then set one or more plants
immediately next to or encircling each pit. As the material rots down it will feed the soil to encourage healthy, resilient growth and bumper yields. As as you can see,
composting in-situ offers a convenient way of processing all that nutrient-rich
organic matter back into the ground. It’s easy to do and next year’s crops will
love you for it! As always, we’d love to hear your experiences of
composting in this way, so do drop us a comment below. We’ll be bringing you more green gardening ideas over the coming months, so don’t miss out – click the subscribe button to receive
more great gardening videos. I’ll catch you next time. [Music]

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56 thoughts on “Compost Techniques: Composting in Situ

  1. 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?

  2. 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

  3. 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 .

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

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. 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

  14. I have a compost Bin (old Wheelie Bin) and have just ordered a HotBin composter, I only fill my compost bin in the spring and summer months but in the autumn I bury all scraps leaves shredded paper card board etc. direct in holes in the soil and my runner bean trench. At the end of the gardening year I clean all my tools and wipe all wooden handle over with linseed oil all steel surfaces I wipe over with cooking oil as I`m organic

  15. I did that a few years ago. The side of our house, we couldn't grown anything. So I buried the compost with leaves, grass clipping, coffee grounds,. The following year, I planted some Hosea, and BOOM! They're huge. I know this method works for any other plants. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I love your videos, they are fabulous! With so many great tips, I am continuing to learn how to be a better gardener. One tip I can pass along is making a compost lasagna, which I did in the fall here in New England. There's no need to dig with this method. Just find the area you want to make a garden bed. If there's grass, cut it as close to the ground as possible. Then I put layers of newspaper, about 5 sheets deep, then I put cardboard on top of that. Next, just layer whatever browns and greens until you reach about 18 inches in height. I incorporated some soil, straw, free coffee grounds from the local Starbucks, and free seaweed that I gathered from the beach nearby. I also put in some peat moss and leaves, grass clippings from our yard. The thing is to make layers of each item added, and water each layer. When early spring arrived, I started turning the pile a couple times per week, which had been decomposing and shrinking.
    I have to say, it was wonderful! Everything I planted in it grew very well.

  17. i tried that, but it attract bit rat and mole digging and turning compost out.. no good. unless the patch is fenced both above and beneath soil to prevent rat and mole come to make trouble.

  18. I really like your vids. I use the trench method when fertilizing with fish remains after a fishing trip. I find that my garden responds very well.

  19. I did this years ago, forgot all about it, the garden did really well, you could always tell when the roots reached to piggy poop, the plants just shot off big time.

  20. Thanks for the video. I live in Norway, so I'm wondering if this can work here as well. Soil is covered with snow at least 3-4 months during winter, and winter temp varies between -10C and -5 in general. Will trench composting work? Soil in my small garden is very rich in clay so hard to work, and I'd prefer to use no-till methods. I was thinking of using a couple of pallet collar stacked and compost in there, do you think it insulate good enough?

  21. I don't have a garden yet but I have been studying a lot.
    1) I would leave the roots in the ground as 2/3rds of all Organic Matter comes from roots.
    2) I would never have bare soil. I want to feed the soil biology. (See Dr Elaine Ingham.) I would plant a cover crop with deep roots and possibly a nitrogen fixer or two.
    3) I would use the above ground portion of the older crop as mulch.
    4) I would compost and use compost tea. All transplants will need compost, compost tea and worm castings

  22. We have lots of stupid ants I donโ€™t know it works for us , because ants are everywhere more food bring them in my garden any advice would be nice ? Thanks

  23. I love these great ideas to make compost. I tried making compost in ground and have it for more than 2 months; however, it had been creating a lot maggots and insects in there and never seen any good garden worm. I adjusted it by adding more brown materials 3 weeks ago, the maggots seem disappeared but still other insects exist. Not seen any breakdown yet:-(

  24. I use the methods described in the video, I also include old news papers and anything that can rot down. The soil where we live is very poor, basically its red sand. Water just runs away. The only way is to compost. I find the two methods work well, hole in the ground and the trench method. I would love to have dark rich soil like is shown in the video ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. After a bit of trial and error, the unit was finally assembled.>>> The directions required some deciphering. Great quality materials for a heavy plastic container, easy to use, and very stable stand.

  26. I started doing this a year ago. I grind my kitchen scraps in a Vita Mix blender first then bury the โ€œsmoothieโ€ in a pit. Doing it this way it breaks down in as little as a few days and I donโ€™t plant anything near the pit for at least a month. Even so, friends are concerned that I may be introducing harmful bacteria and they feel itโ€™s a potential health hazard. I use only organic vegetable matter, no dairy or meat. I think itโ€™s perfectly safe but does anyone know if there is a minimum time before one should plant after composting in situ? I live in California and can garden vegetables year round.

  27. I like to use excess compost materials to build hugelkultur beds which can hold more and be rebuilt year to year.

  28. I did this recently, digging a compost pit, after about a month, I inspected the pit and the waste veg etc turned into dark rich compost, I was over the moon. Thanks for the video.

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