Find out how to compost without a pile. Compost is natural fertilizer for your garden. When you add it to your garden, you’ll improve your soil’s texture, feed your plants and help roots stay moist.
Many gardeners make compost piles in their backyards. If you’d rather keep your compost out of sight, there are many other ways to store this nutrient-rich material.
Five Great Ways to Make Compost Without a Pile:
1. Use a countertop container. Drop kitchen scraps and other items that decompose quickly into a countertop bin or pail. When it’s full, empty it directly into your garden, and cover with soil, a thick layer of grass clippings or leaves. Repeat when you’ve refilled the pail.
2. Set up an outdoor compost tumbler. You’ll find stationary or portable models in a variety of sizes. A tumbler helps keep compost in one place, away from animals and makes it easy to turn.
3. Dig a trench. Dig a trench at least 12 inches deep near your garden bed or a row of plants, being careful not to damage any roots. Fill the trench half way with chopped organic matter. Cover with 6 inches of soil. Start another trench when the first one fills up. To help speed up decomposition, water the trench monthly. Come spring, work your new compost into the soil. If you don’t want long trenches in your yard, dig 12-inch holes instead. Be cautious, however, when composting directly into the ground. It can attract pests to the area if not dug properly.
4. Use a worm bin. With this method, called vermicomposting, you’ll keep worms in an indoor or outdoor container. As you add fruit and veggie scraps or garden clippings, the worms break them down to make castings. Castings aren’t the same as true compost, but they’ll still help build up the soil.
5. Mow or shred fallen leaves. Spread the pieces over your garden and top with grass clippings. You can also rake the leaves into a mound and let them decompose. To speed up the process, mix in compost activator, or use a five-to-one ratio of leaves to manure or other nitrogen-rich material, and turn the mound a few times each week.
- Countertop compost compacting pail or bin
- Compost tumbler
- Organic materials such as grass clippings, leaves and kitchen scraps
- Garden hoe
- Lawn mower or leaf shredder
- Compost activator or manure