Trench and Worm Composting

I have not been gardening long; maybe 4 years.  My paternal grandfather was a gardener, and I always loved his massive backyard with trees and plants always growing! Mine started out as some herbs, grew to a container garden and now I’ve done in-ground gardening (keeping herbs in containers).  To start, it can be expensive, especially if you have sand for dirt like we do.  I only bought seeds and dirt (A LOT OF DIRT) and the wood for the beds you see in the pictures below was picked up from someone’s curb that they were throwing away.  Yes, I am one of those people that sees potential in some of the things people throw away, and NO, I am not a hoarder!  If I don’t use it in ample time, I will throw it away or have a garage sale and sell it after fixing it up.  One man’s trash is another man’s garden bed barrier.

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My new project has been composting.  Anything to avoid having a trash full of garbage attracting bugs.  We try to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.  We only go through one trash bag a week, and I’d like to keep decreasing the output. As lucky as we are to live in an age where we can look anything up on the internet and try it, composting has been like my many tried and failed attempts at making peppermint oil…no two people do it the same!  I decided to still try.  My mother-in-law found an article of different ways to compost without purchasing a $100 bin.  I am now trying trench composting.  I knew when composting the ratio is 4:1 for all the kitchen scraps and live matter, you need 4x more dead organic matter. I had raked leaves into a giant pile and decided to use what I had.  Low and behold, as I started shoveling some of the leaves, I found earthworms everywhere!   Most people use red wiggler worms.  They are usually the most efficient at breaking everything down.  The red wigglers are the ones on the top in the graphic below; the ones in our yard are the ones at the bottom.

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The ones at the bottom of the picture break the compost down and reproduce at a slower rate, but I didn’t have an insane amount of compost material to begin with.  I dug two trenches along the long sides in a bed I already used.  I filled it with kitchen scraps like eggshells, coffee grinds, lemon peels, banana peels and other vegetable and fruit scraps.  I then shoveled some dead leaves and more nutritious dirt, ensuring I got enough worms in there, covered it with the rest of the soil I had and let it sit.  I started sifting it every few days, which is the only time you smell it, but then I read the trenching method still aerates enough so you don’t have to do that!  I still plan on planting more lettuce in between the trenches and adopting a new method from now on, which is putting some scraps in a little at a time around the edges of the bed along with some dead leaves and a worm! 

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