I love the sound of this--it seems like it might be a really good answer for some of my "issues". I'm wondering, though, about other critters digging up buried foodstuffs in the garden. Is this a problem? I'd hate to invite the local wildlife to come through my garden and dig up everything in sight, in quest for that day-old watermelon rind...
I must admit- it is probably a bad idea to bury a lots of cantaloupe rinds for example--I know they say groundhogs love them, and I can imagine a groundhog making a big mess getting to them. And cantaloupe seeds might sprout like that. As far as providing a buffet for voles for example, I just don't know. They are so sneaky, staying underground anyway, I don't think you'd know one way or another. The sources I read about pit composting didn't address this question either.
I think you're pretty safe with small amounts that will decompose quickly. They will go from yummy to rotten pretty fast in the ground. Hopefully that keeps the critters down.
Thanks for reading and questioning, so I could elaborate. I didn't really see a good way to fit this into the article.
Coffee grounds help a lot with that, as they disguise the odors of other foods. I'm a pile builder; I try to always have coffee grounds to add when I bury a new batch of kitchen trimmings in my pile, to keep the rodents out. You can get coffee grounds free at Starbucks if you don't use coffee at home.
Great tip! Thanks!
My Starbucks is totally grounds compliant now, and will close up whatever bag they're working on at the time and give it to me. Can be a gallon or two, or as much as two huge buckets worth which the counter guy even carried to the car for me.
Tucsonjill, I've been doing this for a couple of years now and we have major gopher problems, but I haven't had any problems with critters digging up the pits. The one thing I do have to watch for with bigger holes is the grubs for those awful green fruit beetles. I usually try to dig that stuff up a bit and get some of them out of there.
It's sure a lot easier than messing with a big pile especially here where we don't have access to a truckload of leaves, etc. Wouldn't you just about kill for a truckload of leaves????
I'm not sure I'd kill for a truckload of leaves, but I might sell my non-gardening husband on ebay... :)
I do like the idea of digging in coffee grounds to disguise the smell. If our dog were still with us, I'm not sure it'd be enough, but since that's not a problem any more, I might give it a try! We always have plenty of coffee grounds... :)
Stormyla, the problem is out here in the desert, we don't have all that much in the way of deciduous trees. At least, not the kind with the great big wonderful leaves--only the tiny needle-like leaves of things like mesquites and palo verdes. I've tried composting those, and they take forever to break down. I think it's because they also have a waxy surface to help prevent water loss.
It's just one of those things that makes desert gardening such an adventure!
tucsonjill, I never thought about that. Thanks for opening my eyes!! Nature must have provided some other compostable items to keep your desert plants alive. Perhaps the answer is to ally with mother nature, not fight her.
I recently underwent a capitualization and reorganization in my shady gardens. No matter how much I compost and tend my gardens, they will always be mostly foliage gardens with sporadic blooms. When the light bulb finally went off, I stopped trying to have blooms that equal my friends with sunny gardens. Now I've embraced and am obsessed with building beautiful shade beds. Duh, why did it take me so long to get here????????????
If I can think of a cheap way to get some there, a whole lot of leaves will be coming your way. You'd have to see the efforts that I made trying to make sure none of my black walnut leaves ended up in my leaves for the compost.
Yeah, gardening out here is very definitely a work-with rather than a work-around proposition. I've learned the secret to my success is "the right plant in the right place"--and irrigate irrigate irrigate! :)
I'd love to see a pic someday of your shade beds--that's one thing that's really tough to do out here, since very rarely do you get really good deep shade, and even then, it's so hot and arid that many of the traditional shade lovers just won't work. Love a good shade bed!
Jill, tapping her toe anxiously, waiting for the semi full of leaves... :)