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Trench Composting – Too Easy to Pass Up

Garden designers and property developers in general are always looking for effective ways and means to save money. For those getting to grips with outdoor matters, it goes without saying that creating your own 100% organic compost represents a good place to start. But what so many landscapers and property developers alike fail to realise is that you don’t necessarily need a bin or even a heap to get the job done.

If this is your first time coming across the idea of trench composting, the answer is yes – it really is every bit as easy as it sounds!

What is trench composting?

As the name quite rightly gives away, trench composting is a process whereby you simply dig a hole, bury the required organic materials and leave it for as long as necessary. Pretty much any area of the garden not being used for other purposes can be used for trench composting, which typically begins delivering results after around 6 to 12 months.

You dig the hole, you throw everything in and then you pretty much forget about it.

Given the fact that the decomposing matter is kept entirely out of sight throughout the process, it’s hardly surprising how popular it is among garden designers and property developers alike. All the results, without having to look at the stuff while it is doing its business. What’s more, you can also throw the weeds you collect in a trench composting pit too. Just as long as you dig it deep enough, they won’t re-grow and come back to haunt you.

What materials are needed?

For the most part, pretty much any type of organic waste whatsoever can be used for composting purposes. Nevertheless, there are a few examples of materials that are more popular than others – including a couple that are exclusive to trench composting.

You can get your trench compost project underway using:

  • Grasses, weeds and plant material in general
  • Vegetable scraps, stems, cereals, grains and herbs
  • Grass cuttings, hedge trimmings and general garden waste
  • Animal bedding like sawdust and straw
  • Dairy and meat waste in small quantities
  • Coffee grounds, eggshells and so on

In short, anything you can use to make compost the normal way can be used for trench composting. It’s just that with conventional composting, meat and dairy waste would not be compatible with your pile. Hence once again why this particular strategy is popular among garden designers and property developers who prefer to turn every possible scrap of trash into treasure!

Trench composting method

While there are countless different ways of going about the trench composting process, you might as well keep things as simple as possible. Which basically means selecting an appropriate area in the outdoor space of your choosing, or as many as you require. Always take into consideration the surroundings of your compost trench, along with how difficult it may be to dig and whether pests (and pets) with a habit of digging could cause you problems.

Once you have decided on an appropriate place, it’s as simple as following these five steps:

1.     Dig a trench to the required depth, in accordance with exactly how much organic matter you intend to throw in there. Technically speaking, there are no real limitations – just as long as it is an appropriately sized hole!

2.     As always, begin with a layer of brown compostables at the bottom, followed by a green layer, then a brown layer and so on. Moisten it all adequately as you go.

3.     Each time you put down a new layer of greens or browns, spread a thin layer of the soil you removed on top before adding a new layer.

4.     You should add between 6 and 8 inches of soil to the top of your final layer, before placing some kinds of markers to outline the size and shape of your compost trench.

5.     After this, it is simply a case of leaving it to its own devices for at least six months, though it’s better to give it closer to a year for it to begin reaching its full potential.

And there you have it – one of the easiest and most effective approaches to composting favoured by landscapers and property developers all over the world. Not to mention, a simply superb way of utilising those ‘spare’ areas of the garden you can’t think of anything else to do with!


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