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 for many.
I even wrote an article for Grit magazine which was published in the summer of 2016.
Direct Composting Welcomes the Worms
Direct Composting is an invitation to welcome worms to the garden and amend your soil quickly.
We do this by digging a hole to bury food waste. 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 and 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.
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 and banana peels. Waste like tea bags, coffee grounds, and egg shells are also perfect composting materials.
I also incorporate citrus peels because they add a nice scent to the soil and because they take a while to decompose I dig them a little deeper.
Going a step further with hicken and fish bones is another practice I incorporate because they 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.
I avoided the dog digging with a fence but also use a stone to detour rodents because they can enter by climbing.
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 1-2 weeks and because I’m adding compost weekly I just move that stone each time.
Solving Issues and How Long to Decompose?
Using the covered raised bed was also a great source especially if you don’t want to fence in your garden. This is one of my favorite projects because it solved additional common garden issues.
How long does it take for decomposition really depends on how and when you established the 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 as long as you keep feeding them which is why I direct compost year-round.
You’ll begin to notice the perks of gardening in a simplistic yet natural way quickly and it won’t be long before you say good-bye to bin composting.
If you like this way of composting then you’ll enjoy my Startle Garden system where we garden with less maintainence.
When Do You Compost?
I direct compost year round in all of my beds. This takes place in raised beds that are resting and growing.
If you grow using tight planting conditions then those areas would be skipped and direct composted during the off season.
In conjunction with composting I also use animal fertilizer from our farm, mainly llama, chicken and sheep droppings. Natural material like leaves is another favorite.
I’m all about working with nature because it’s just basic common sense for a fantastic garden.
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 better way to add nutrients to your garden?