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Talkback: How to make a composting trench

Is this sufficient time for the material to rot down sufficiently to enable planting on top in May/June?

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Tom Freeman
Is this sufficient time for the material to rot down sufficiently to enable planting on top in May/June?

Yes, is the short answer.

Some years, eg last, I couldnt start my 'bean trench' for this yrs' crop until the next Spring. Ok, not all the vegetable waste that I'd used had completely rotted down, but by the time I dismantled the wigwam in late summer- very bad yr for growing for me- no sign of the trench filling remained & the soil was in good condition.

I now try & adopt the trench policy to improve any new bed that I start, which is usually from removing more of the lawn! J.

I do this each year, even in my small veg patch. Used to do it for my long bean trench in my previous garden. Great feeling of satisfaction as it all goes and nourishes the soil.
Yep, all my compost from one bin, rotted and partially rotted, goes into a trench for runner beans. Earlier the better but now is a good time to do it. I add a little fertiliser in spring too but I grow masses of succulent runner beans.
I use Bokashi for my kitchen waste. Can I use the contents of my filled bin in the composting trench?


Hammy2 wrote (see)
I use Bokashi for my kitchen waste. Can I use the contents of my filled bin in the composting trench?

Had to look to see what a Bokashi is-it seems to transform all waste including cooked food scraps into compost

Providing it has done that than yes-I would be wary about throwing uncomposted food waste into an open trench-rats etc will love it.

flowering rose

my husband does a trench each year in a different spot ,this not only helps to spread the compost to each part of the veg patch  but rotation prevents the spread of diseases.


Hello gardener, composting trench is a very effective practice-the best to utilize kitchen food, leaves etc.for enrich the soil. Your wastes have half a year to rot. Then worms and microbes can populate the soil. Organic wastes are not compost. Only when they are rotting, the plant roots can split up the nutrients. In our region we have a very poor soil. Therefore, we apply a similar principle. We call it Bokashi. Because we have no seasons we can't wait until a usable compost is created.For the faster nutrient availability, we use EM, living microorganisms. The EMs ferment organic substances in approximately 1-2 weeks. Thus, you have a revaluated organic compost available throughout the year.I have friends in the UK, Australia and United States, which also use this method.Maybe for you also a consideration.For a little more information please look here:The Easy Bokashi . 

Best organic greatings, ThaiGer.


"To know what we know, and know what we do not know, that is understanding."(Confucius) ,


Excitable Boy

A couple of questions:

- If you put potato peelings in a trench like this won't they sprout?

- Can you grow other crops like lettuce or spring onions using this system or would it be too rich?

I wouldn't put potato peelings in. Lettuce will be ok. Spring onions too if the ground isn't too heavy. Bit of a waste though I think. Use it for,runner beans, sweet peas, celery, garden peas.
Excitable Boy

Looking at the pic again I think they're probably parsnip peelings. (Eyesight is going ). Peas and sweet peas are a good idea. No point runner beans as nobody likes them except me!


I think you can put in botato peelings,certainly small large, cut it thin and short.On the pic also I can see some large waste, if cut smaller and thin you have faster a usable basic compost.I think so.Best organic greetings, ThhaiGer

Tried this 2 years ago.I suspect it was a fox kept digging it up and scattering stuff around so didn't work for me. The idea is excellent but maybe needs covering up with mesh or frame as you go.
Is this method of composting of any good or use to non-edible plants such as new roses or small fruit trees for planting at the correct time?

No. It works for bean trenches, as you throw the stuff in through the winter and plant beans in may./june. If you are planting roses, or fruit trees  you need to do it in the next three months, and I would sprinkle bonemeal in the soil used to back fill the hole.


The badgers keep digging up my veg beds and rats have moved into the compost heap.  Any ideas to cope with this?


Not sure what the badgers are looking for - worms and grubs probably - not sure what you can do about that other than electric fencing which is what I would try.

As for the rats, don't put any potatoes or potato peelings in your compost heap - my brother is a potato farmer and says that rats will gnaw through concrete to get at potatoes - their favourite food.  Also, rats like warm dry places - keep your compost damp and regularly turned and stirred to aerate it - it will disturb the rats and drive them away to look for somewhere quieter, and it  will produce better compost. 

Good luck 

I have never had any success in making compost but we had a neighboour who
I have never had any success in making compost, but we had a neighbour who had he most wonderful soil throughout her garden - she grew only flowers, no vegetables - and always used this method, so I feel inspired to try it for myself.

The other deterrent for rats is to simply make them aware that you are frequently about. Hit the compost heap with a stick, walk past several times. My bins are just next to where I park the car so any rat would be often disturbed. I do 'compost master' events and all the people this summer who said that they had rats in their compost seemed to keep chickens. A couple of compost bins may be the answer, with a very sturdy metal grid underneath so necessary bugs etc. can get in but the rats can't.