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September 13th, 2011

Composting Where There’s No Room

I want to recycle my kitchen scraps in the garden but I have no room in my back yard for a compost pile. What’s a good way to compost that doesn’t take much space?

blog-dougDig a hole, dump in your compostable kitchen waste, and cover it with soil. Most of the scraps break down in a month or less (things like melon rinds and eggshells might take longer), and during that time you don’t have to worry about the temperature or moisture level of the decomposing organic waste, nor do you need to stir or turn the materials. Soil microbes and earthworms do all the work for you.

This technique, called pit composting, is especially good in vegetable gardens, because you can bury your scraps between rows or wherever a crop has just been harvested. The nutrients from the decomposing organic materials are released slowly to the soil and are available for crops that follow. As with aboveground compost piles, you should avoid adding meat or dairy wastes, which can attract animals. Pit composting is difficult for large amounts of yard debris, but it’s a good way to deal with the day’s coffee grounds, potato peelings, apple cores, and other food wastes.  —Doug Hall

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