How to - Organic Gardening

Choose a style that will suit your garden to produce a rich soil amender

composting-trench2.jpgOpen-pile or trench composting
Where space permits, you can simply make a compost pile on the ground. Start with a layer of branches to admit air, then alternate your browns and greens on top.

To keep the pile sufficiently moist, cover it with a piece of old carpet or a tarp. When the pile reaches 1 to 1.2 metres high and 1.5 metres wide, leave it covered to finish breaking down and start a new pile. No fuss, no muss.

The downside is that an open pile is a bit of an eyesore and can attract vermin. If you don’t have much material to compost, an option is trench composting. Dig a trench or a hole about 30 centimetres deep among your plants and simply bury the stuff. As long as you have spaces to dig without damaging roots, this gets your compost well distributed throughout the garden. Some gardeners create a trench between two rows of vegetables (which then draw nutrients from the decomposing material) or do a rotation system with three garden strips: one planted, one trenched for compost and one a path. These are rotated annually.


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