More is happening on the edge …
I’ve done the usual composting routine before. Hauling that little bucket we keep in the kitchen to the compost bin and dumping it in. I periodically turn it over, maybe add some leaves if it develops a noticable smell. Then at some point, usually in the fall we load up the wheelbarrow and cart it over to the main garden bed to amend the soil. A process I find indescribably satisfying. Seeing that black gold worked into the soil is unexpectadly fulfilling.
I’ve often wondered about alternative methods of composting. I wondered if you could have compost bins in your garden. Like in your growing area. One of the reasons I thought this might be desirable is that I can’t help but wonder how much of the nutrients in the compost left by the worms wind up in the soil under and around the compost bin – never to be carted away and put on the beds. Also, the worms are coming and going and generally hanging out in the vicinity of that bin. Maybe it would be better if they could hang out in the middle of my garden rather than some isolated corner of the yard. Thirdly, having a bin in my garden bed would mean I wouldn’t have to do as much work to amend the soil. The black gold would be right there on-site.
Another idea I kicked around is the concept of having a moving compost bin. Set one up somewhere in your growing area, after a year amend the soil with the contents, and then disassemble the bin and move it somewhere else. You could rotate the position of your bin between a handful of locations in your garden annually.
One idea I would like to try comes courtesy of Rhonda Baird. She had an article in Permaculture Activist where she mentioned putting a thick PVC pipe in the ground, leaving about 20 inches above ground*. In the part which is to be buried, drill holes about a half inch in diameter. The pipe would then have a cover put over it’s top. In her design she used two pipes to form the legs of a bench.
I thought one could easily do this just as individual pipes and place them all over the garden. Instead of taking the compost bucket to the bin, I could just put a part of the days scraps into each of my many compost pipes. After that the work ends. The worms eat the compost and distribute it throughout the garden.
A quick search reveals that this is not an incommon idea: Composting With a PVC Worm Tube
* Rhonda Baird, Permaculture Activist #92, p. 31