Composting in place tips?

In the book “Gaia’s Garden”, Toby Hemenway recommends composting in place instead of the traditional compost pile. He writes, “Sometimes, instead of emptying the kitchen compost bucket into the compost pile, I tuck it’s contents under some mulch, where it rots very quickly.”

I tried doing this, but inevitably someone (I’m looking at you, crows) drags out my apple cores and vegetable peels and scatters them all over the yard. Is there a better way to do this, or should I just go back to regular composting?

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Get a BB gun!

Just kidding. Only idea I got.

I spent all last winter digging holes in my unused garden beds and inserting my compost directly into them. Now when I want to use them and turn them over, there are rich black pockets of compost that get mixed into the whole bed. I’m hoping it’s enough to feed the plants. It was much easier than hauling compost from a pile.

Did you bury the organic matter under anything or just put them in the hole?

I just cover it over with dirt, at least 6 inches. Also before I cover it I chop it all up in the hole so the pieces will decompose easier.

I’ve started (January) doing this to a patch of lawn I want to turn into a vegetable bed for spring.

My wooden slatted compost pile is full, but I still have new kitchen waste to put somewhere each week.

So I’ve been digging the turf into spade sized sections, and stomping the turf squares back in place once the scraps are in the hole.

No foxes have bothered disturbing it yet, but if I have any meat / bone scraps I might dig a lot deeper before replacing the turf.

Any ideas how long it will take the worms to finish their job? Will update with my results here in April.

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Update: I lifted up the lawn turf from 2 months ago. The kitchen scraps are still decomposing, many worms, much slugs, wow. It’s sludgy / gooey, as not much oxygen for bacteria to thrive. Probably would need 2 more months if it was to be dug and mixed in.

The lack of full decomposition doesn’t make any difference to my vegetable patch though, as I’ll plant into normal soil heaped on top of the turf. No rotting contamination should occur, as the turf will take the worms a while to break through. Eventually those nutrients will be unlocked for my vegetables, brought upwards by the worms.

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i’d suggest using some sort of biodegradable covering on top of the mulch which covers the compost deposit… heavy cardboard weighted down with wood or rocks has been useful for me in keeping larger scavengers away… but my neighbor’s resident rats still get in sometimes. maybe the next level would be topping it all off with some re-usable wire mesh or something along those lines? i completely agree that composting in place when practical is the best way to go, to save a LOT of labor! :grinning: