Earlier I wrote a popular post referring to Direct Compost, this method was introduced to me from my grandmother when I was a kid. Many had never heard of it and my goal was to share a simpler way to compost instead of using traditional compost bins.
Since then her awesome idea has been implemented by gardeners everywhere and this style of composting has become a very helpful tool.
There were a lot of great questions since publishing that first article and it’s my hope with each reply I’ve been able to assist appropriately.
This led me to revisit the topic by breaking things down into very basic steps. I also wrote a printable for those who want this information in a easy to follow format. That printable can be found here and our growing inventory of helpful garden printables are listed here.
Direct Composting Welcomes the Worms
Direct Composting is an invitation to welcome worms to the garden. It’s always great to let nature work for you, don’t you agree?
How do the worms help? They eat food waste as a meal and when it passes through their system it becomes compost. This turns soil into a beautiful loam with a wonderful easy to work texture.
If you’re working with clay soil this may take 2 or 3 years to experience which makes it even more important to feed soil on a regular basis.
Soil needs to be fed before, during after each planting season. This is why I love direct composting, apply this method year-round and you will notice a huge improvement and the worms will never leave.
Using additional natural materials to amend soil is also good practice. Learn more here.
Food Waste and Direct Compost
Compost is a combination of all kitchen food waste, including chicken bones. Let me explain before you think I’ve completely gone mad. Food waste in our home mainly consists of fruit or vegetable pieces like potato peels, carrot shavings, banana peels, tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells and the list goes on.
I also incorporate citrus peels because they add a nice scent and because they take a while to decompose I dig them a little deeper.
Chicken and fish bones carry calcium which is very good for the soil. The only difficulty is they also take longer to decompose so make sure to dig them deeper and cover up.
Dealing with Dogs, Predators and Rodents
A garden fence will keep most the dogs and predators out of your garden. This is why I incorporated a fence because my dogs love digging up my compost.
During the winter I was presented with some type of rodent digging up waste. I never figured out what it was but decided to add a heavy stone on top of newly buried compost.
This worked like a charm so I’m guessing it was something small. Direct compost in my garden decomposes in about 2 weeks and because I’m adding compost weekly I just move that stone each time.
How Long to Decompose?
Our covered raised bed was a great source for keeping critters visiting to dig. This is one of my favorite projects because it solved additional common garden issues.
Decomposition really depends when you established your garden. As I mentioned in my original article it can be days if you already have active worm activity.
Expect anywhere from one – two weeks for common food waste to turn into compost and don’t be surprised when you dig the next hole if you uncover heavy worm activity.
Depending on how deprived the soil may be it could take longer than two weeks. once the worms show up they stick around and you’ll begin to notice the perks of gardening in a simplistic yet natural way.
Things like bones, egg shells, and thick peelings will always take longer.
When Do You Compost?
I direct compost year round in my vegetable and flower beds. This takes place in raised beds that are resting and growing.
I don’t grow my vegetables in tight spaces which makes this tip easy to implement. In conjunction with composting I also use animal fertilizer from our farm, mainly llama, chicken and sheep droppings.
Direct Composting isn’t a complicated system; it’s a matter of digging a hole, dumping your waste and covering it up. Now doesn’t that sound like a great way to add nutrients to your garden?