Trench Composting

by Daisy

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With the encouragement of commenters, I decided to go ahead and use the trench composting method for the latest delivery of restaurant compost.

Trench composting is a way to compost in which the compost is buried directly into the garden beds.


First, I dug a trench. The recommended depth for trench composting is 12 inches. Mine is a little more shallow because I was digging in a bed that had previously been hugelkultured. That is, I buried rotting logs underneath the bed. It’s been a couple of years so the logs were pretty well deteriorated, but it was still harder to dig any deeper than this. As you can see, the soil is already pretty dark and rich.


I put the soil I removed in an old recycling bin.


Next, I filled the trench with the wheelbarrow of kitchen scraps I got from a local restaurant as part of their greener restaurant project participation. If you missed my post on that, you can read about it here. There was almost too much to fit in the trench. I consider that a good thing.


Finally, I covered the scraps with the soil I’d removed earlier. It barely covered everything, so I see the benefits of digging deeper. I think it’s adequate, though.


It helped solve the issue I’ve been having with my “raised rows” being little more than even with my paths. It’s more hilled up now.

It’s also very easy! No turning, no mixing, no carrying from the compost pile, and no sifting finished compost. Plus, the earthworms are going to have a field day.

I’m going to wait until the scraps have had a chance to settle down and compost a bit more before I plant anything here. I’ll let you know how it goes. Hoping I’ve covered it enough to keep the critters from tearing into it!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kay in WA March 23, 2015 at 3:45 pm

I’ve always wondered about your hugelkulture adventure and how that all worked out. I wondered how long it would be until the site was friable. Now I know, thanks!

Cindy March 24, 2015 at 3:54 am

I did something similar to this called lazy man’s compost. I had a little raised bed garden. I would dig holes between the rows and fill them with kitchen waste. I was doing a lot of juicing at the time. The next year, I just moved my rows over and had great composted soil there ready to go.

Judith C March 25, 2015 at 6:42 pm

This method works great for juicing scraps and pulp.

Daisy March 26, 2015 at 11:36 am

Judith C–Good idea. Now I need to find a juice bar to donate their pulp to me!

Daisy March 26, 2015 at 11:50 am

Cindy–I like that method!

Daisy March 26, 2015 at 11:52 am

Kay in WA–Well, some of the larger logs are pretty much still there. It’s all going to depend on how old the wood was to start with, how large the pieces are, etc. The smaller, well-rotted logs are soil now, though.

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