Gardening – In-Ground Composting Methods

Often when people think of composting, they envision the old-fashioned, backyard-type composter in addition to the classic backyard compost bin or compost pile. However, there are methods for composting organic matter throughout the year and offer aerobic composting, which breaks down the waste from the seasons’ heat and moisture. Posthole, trench, and sheet composting options are also available for creating healthy garden soil.

Posthole Composting

Posthole composting is the way most people begin their own composting programs. The composting process starts by creating a hole in the soil, filling the hole with the organic matter to be composted, and topping the hole with a soil layer about eight inches or deeper.

Trench Composting

trench composting is a variation on postal composting in which a trench is dug, and the trench is filled with the organic matter to be composted and topping the trench with a soil layer about eight inches or deeper. This method is usually used when working with slightly larger quantities of materials to be composted, which might not be meet the volumes desired to use the sheet composting method.

Sheet Composting

Another option for creating home compost is sheet composting. Sheet composting is accomplished by placing a layer of material to be composted, such as fall leaves or straw and animal manures, on a prepared garden bed. Then these materials are cultivated into the soil and allowed to decompose naturally. Most gardeners find that fall is the best time to do this. However, if you have a fallow garden area, this approach can be applied in any season in which the ground can be worked.

Advantages Of In-Ground Composting

Earth Worms

One significant advantage to in-ground composting is that it encourages earthworms who further enrich and aerate the garden soil.

No Need For Compost Pile

In-ground composting, assuming you have enough space, can eliminate the need for a compost pile or compost bin, which depending on where you live, may make your neighbors happy.

Small area cultivation

Assuming you don’t use your whole garden patch for sheet composting, the area that you use for postal composting or trench composting will be cultivated as you dig up the area and bury your compost, thereby loosening the soil, aerating the soil, and causing less disturbance for the earthworms in the surrounding soil.

Disadvantages of in-ground composting

Need to track placement of compost

Depending upon how frequently your compost and how much compost you have to bury, you may indeed keep some track of where the more recent compost materials have been buried to keep from digging it up before the material is completely composted.

Attracting garden pests

You will need to make sure that you bury the materials deep enough to keep from attracting unwanted garden pests, which you may not want digging up your garden or hanging around your yard.

Often when people think of composting, they envision the old-fashioned, backyard-type composter in addition to the classic backyard compost bin or compost pile. However, there are methods for composting organic matter throughout the year and offer aerobic composting, which breaks down the waste from the seasons’ heat and moisture. Posthole, trench, and sheet composting options are also available for creating healthy garden soil.


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