Composting in Place

I have built and maintained compost pits and piles for many years now, when we bought our first home in 2002 one of the first things I did was mark out the garden plot and start a compost pile. I’ve long been a believer that we should use the things around us to their fullest capacity, while keeping in harmony with its order of creation. It never made sense to me to wrap kitchen scraps in plastic to rot in a landfill, or grind it up and send it down the drain. I feel that sending the leftovers of our fruits and vegetables back to the earth is honoring, and giving thanks to that which has been provided to us.

For a few years now I have flirted with the idea of composting in place.  The idea is that you don’t create a compost pile that needs to be watered and turned over and then eventually moved, you actually add the material to be composted in the place that you will eventually need it. I’ve never done it, I didn’t want to attract vermin, I worried that it would look horrible and that the organic matter wouldn’t break down fast enough. This year I decided I would give it a try. It’s a grand experiment. IMG_5900
I collected about a days worth of kitchen scraps, onions peels, banana peels, eggs shells and herbs used in infusions.  I didn’t add any meats or leftover cooked foods.
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For the first layer I lay down old newspapers and old homework papers, some egg cartons and left over bits of cardboard. A lot of organic farmers and backyard hobbyists won’t use certain types of paper or cardboard in their garden, saying that the glues and dyes are bad for the enviroment.  I don’t completely agree with that and I put all sorts of paper products in my garden and compost.  I think, with a few exceptions, that the earth is entirely capable of cleansing itself.  If you put concentrations of garbage and papers a central location, yes the ground will be poisoned, but that is not what I am doing, I am taking the bit that our family uses and facilitating the breakdown and cleansing.  They will be processed by microorganisms and turned into beneficial nutrients for plants.

After the layer of newspaper I spread out all the kitchen scraps, gross……
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And on top of that, straw, that will help absorb moisture and keep the mixture from getting too hot.
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Then on top of that, aged horse manure.
IMG_5904I got about two feet done in a fifty foot row….this might take a while….

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