Introduction: Trench Compost
I like to garden, not 'to compost,' and I found TRENCH COMPOSTING to be the easiest way for us to deal with our kitchen and yard scraps to make nice (wonderful) dirt.
Compsting isn't stinky, hard, or time consuming; you shouldn't have to buy or make special bins or powders or barrels. It should be (and IS) the most natural thing on earth, so don't make it more complicated than it has to be! Read on...
Step 1: Find a Location
You'll want to find a good location; preferably a place where it is easy to get to from where you'll be producing the biodegradable material (often from your kitchen) and where you want the soil to be enriched (like a garden or future garden).
Step 2: Dig a Hole
Dig a hole big enough to put some biodegradable material into. You're going to want to make it deep enough so that at least 6 inches of dirt ends up on top of your matter so make it 10-20 inches deep.
It is very efficient to pre-dig and do a long trench.
Step 3: Set Displaced Dirt Aside
Be sure not to scatter the dirt that you're digging up. Set it aside in a pile for covering up your compost later.
Step 4: Save Scraps or Yard Waste
If you haven't done so already, save up veggie peels and other food scraps to put in the hole. You'll get lots of advice about what you can and can't put in compost, but we put almost everything in there.
From what I understand, it is dangerous to use feces of animals that are capable of eating meat (so not even feces of vegetarian dogs).
I know people who put used facial tissue or paper towels in there. I'd also stay away from newspaper and other printed papers; again, think about what goes into the material and make your own choices.
Step 5: Cover Up the Biodegradable Material With the Reserved Dirt
You can put dirt on the biodegradable material as you go, or do a bunch at once. You might want to keep a shovel by the trench.
Step 6: Let It Be!
Let the microbes and worms and insects do their job! Depending upon your soil type, how much water gets in there and the temperature, you should have beautiful earth in less than a year.
When we trench, I'll plant small seed flowers or a 'green manure' crop on top of it the first year and rototill it in the next spring. Read more about green manure crops; they're amazing.
Step 7: NOTE: When You Live in a Cold Climate
We trench compost in a climate where the ground freezes.
To do this, you'll need to do three things:
-make a trench before the ground freezes in the fall/winter
-put down an old blanket to keep snow out of the trench or shovel the snow out of the trench
-and if you want to cover the compost before spring, insulate the reserved dirt so that it doesn't freeze. I use 6-10 inches of fluffed straw. Fluffy leaves that don't compress or lots of grass clippings work. You won't need to cover up the biodegradable material until spring, but it is up to you.