No Compost Pile, But Need to do Something

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

I currently have no room for a compost pile. But I can't see disposing of all those good kitchen scraps and other stuff. So until I can get a pile going, what I've been doing is digging a hole about 1 1/2' deep & a foot across. Vegetable scraps & used coffee/tea go into the hole, covered with a couple inches of the soil removed from the hole. This is layered over & over. When the hole is full, I find another empty space, and dig another one.

I know this isn't the best way of composting, but it's all I can do right now. Am I just wasting my time or is this even semi-valuable?

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Do you have room for an enclosed compost bin or a compost tumbler? The footprint can be less than 3' x 3'.

Kirkland, WA(Zone 7b)

This will work for you unless you are in a hurry for everything to break down. I have used this method to prepare areas for planting the following year.
However, as PPirate has stated, a small compost bin will not take a lot of space & is much easier to manage - less digging, etc...
If the cost is more than you wish to pay, you can always use a length of wire fencing to create a circle in which to compost. Very easy to turn the compost & remove...
Critters present more of an issue with a bin that is not closed, especially during the winter.

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Jo-Ann, See if one of these will tickle your interest

There are others on the market, just Google "electric composters".

Somewhere on Dave's Garden there is a thread about electric composters. They may not be for everyone, but it may be something for your liking.


Perhaps consider a ktichen composter with bokashi (fermented wheat bran). They are the size of a small garbage pail and I think you would be surprised at the results in your garden. You can check the EM or bokashi forums for more info, under "soil and composting."

(Mary) Poway, CA(Zone 10a)

I'd second the bokashi suggestion. It's odd stuff, but works so well in the garden. The area I treated with bokashi had double the growth and health of the untreated areas. There are some good threads on bakashi here on Dave's.


New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

We plan on making a tumbling composter out of a plastic barrel. Now our argument is should it be vertical or horizontal.My vote is vertical since it would take up less room. Boyfriend's vote is for horizontal since he says it will mix better. Any comments?

The electric composters seems nice,but I refuse to pay $300 for it.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

A horizontal tumbler is easier to turn when it's full. The vertical kind holds its contents further away from the axis around which it rotates, so you have a harder time moving it. On the plus side, the vertical kind does have a smaller footprint when stationary.

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Jo-Ann, I think that what you are doing, burying your compostable materials in a hole is a great idea.
Be sure to plant in those holes in the spring, the plants will amaze you.

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

Jo-Ann, I have been doing the same thing you are doing for years. I have two very long and deep raised beds for my vegetables and herbs. I put my scraps in and less than a month they are gone because there are so many worms. We do not drink coffee but there is a Starbucks just about 1 mile away. I think I will drop by and see if they have any used grounds available. Happy New Year everybody. Glad 2008 is gone. This picture was taken just before I planted my winter vegetables end of August 2008.

Thumbnail by WormsLovSharon
Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Excellent idea !!!!

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

I was just reading one of my gardening supply catalogs. I could not believe they were selling compost paper to roll your kitchen scraps into to carry to your garden. The price was out of site. Am I missing something?

Kirkland, WA(Zone 7b)

Hmmm, this makes me wonder if they sell this so people won't have to get their hands soiled? or, they won't have to look at it? Or, well, I'm befuddled.
I seriously doubt that those who compost on a regular basis are worried about the aesthetics of it as it is enroute to decompostion.
BTW - if it needs to be wrapped, what is wrong with newspaper or scrap paper?

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

I don't think you are missing anything, they are, mainly your money,
but you are not going to fall for it right?

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

I just keep my scraps in an old half-gallon plastic sherbet container. When it's full of coffee grinds, tea bags, veggie & fruit scraps, I just carry it out, empty it in the hole & cover with a few inches of soil. it I rinse off the container & return it back to the counter in the kitchen. I'm not so obsessed with a picture perfect kitchen that I won't leave a plastic container on the counter. I really don't see the need to purchase anything else for this purpose. I'd rather buy a new plant!!

Kirkland, WA(Zone 7b)

I have 2 buckets - 1 regular & 1 Bokashi. Dump/cover/rinse bucket/start again. Easy. No extra parts to deal with.
Yes, the regular bucket has an odor when dumped, but it serves as a reminder of life. I don't mind getting my hands dirty, otherwise I would not be involved in growing things.
Come to think of it, I got my hands dirty raising children, too. No paper to purchase for handling them!

Lakewood, WA

Bokashi fermentation is the ideal way to treat those kitchen scraps and you will get a far richer nutrient end product for your plants if you follow the correct process.

It takes 2 steps........first about 10 days fermentation, and second about 10 days in the soil where soil microbes do the rest of the work. It is far less polluting to the atmosphere (no greenhouse gases), eliminates vermin problems, and as others have pointed out gives the plants a significant boost over other methods of treatment as soil microbes and nutrients are all returned to the soil. You can do this year around at ambient temperatures indoors.

Larry Green

Thumbnail by bokashicycle
Kirkland, WA(Zone 7b)

The Bokashi bucket is in constant use. The regular bucket exists for the boys to put their scraps: they don't want to hassle with the Bokashi (no, it doesn't make sense). I got tired of explaining/logic & reasoning, so I take care of that bucket, too.

Mid-Cape, MA(Zone 7a)

The reason I "fuss with" the Bokashi method of composting is that I can compost ALL my kitchen scraps--meat, dairy--as well as the usual veggie and fruit scraps. Jo-Ann, You're already burying your scraps--using the Bokashi method of fermenting is just a way to utilize everything for your compost.

Kirkland, WA(Zone 7b)

I have no issues with the Bokashi method - I have been using it for about 9 months or so. But the boys feel it is more than THEY want to deal with; hence, 2 buckets: 1 for them, 1 for me, and both get the Bokashi because I do it, so in the end, it works out just fine.
They don't have anything to do with any facet of gardening/soil enrichment/etc. It would be nice if they embraced it, but I'm not holding my breath...

(Mary) Poway, CA(Zone 10a)

My husband gave me the "little woman is doing something odd .... rolling eyes, we'll just humor her" look when I started last winter. When he saw how things took off in the area treated he stopped. He leaves me his coffee grounds and makes sure I know when he's had enough of left overs that could be used.

Weston, WV(Zone 6b)

Ok can anyone tell me more about the Bokashi method? I went to the website and it was too much scientific blah for me

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

I had heard about Bokashi a few years ago & just thought it was too weird. But you all convinced me to give it a try. I got a 2-bucket starter kit from Bokashicycle - - and the first bucket will be ready to bury in a few days. Thanks for the hint about bokashi.

One of the problems I'm seeing with my original method of burying the stuff directly in the ground is MICE!! I keep finding little tunnels in the ground where they've dug down to reach the garbage. Well, I dug up the stuff in the ground & gave it a good sprinkling with AEM, then buried it back. Sooner or later, it will all decompose & the mice will go away.

I'm also having this problem where the birdseed from the feeder is falling to the ground.

Hammond, LA(Zone 8b)

skwinter, I do kind of the same thing. I get banana peels, and other fruit and veggie waste and cut the pieces up small. I then put them in the soil around the plants in my beds and containers. I must have really fat worms becuase the scraps are usually gone in a few weeks!

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