plants can volunteer too

Volunteers welcome

Who wouldn’t want more volunteers in the garden? If you do trenching and rotate your crops, then you’ll have more show up than you could have hoped for, and every single one happy and tasty. Haha.

>> In the garden, a volunteer is any welcome or useful plant that shows up that you didn’t sow. 🌿

It might be a lone tomato from last years plantings, cucumber sprouts from the trenching, alyssum popping up from plants last year… you will be out in the garden doing some weeding or harvesting and – ‘heeeey, hello, how did you get here’ ☺️

a volunteer silverbeet in our garden
Turning over this bed, discovered a volunteer silverbeet. No idea where he came from…

If you choose trenching to bring vital organics into your soil, then kitchen vegie scraps will be the first thing to go in. As your skills increase, you’ll add more and more – digging in leftovers from the finished crop in that bed and other organic additives from your yard, like ash, dry leaves, and lots more. One of the marvellous consequences of all that good stuff are the communities of vegie volunteers that will sprout from nowhere. Last year, our pumpkins, golden cherry toms, sunflowers, rocket, parsley, coriander, all manner of flowers, gerkins, purslane, warrigal greens and rockmelon all came as volunteers to help out. No offers were refused 😉

This week’s trenching with last month’s cucumber leftovers sprouting already. It’s too cold for cucumbers now but we will grow these to about 5cm high, then chop and add to a salad. YUM.

Some volunteers can stay in-situ, some may need moving to another spot, and some may bring so many friends, you just have to dig most in. That’s okay – more organics in the soil is a good thing. If you want to get really tricky, you can even trench some likely candidates into garden beds knowing they will likely come up. It is only one small step away from saving and growing your own seed, except with none of the effort and all of the surprise.

Look out for Volunteers at your place. If you have started Trenching, then they are not far away 💚

Look wide; grow well, folks 🌿

Trenching, Level Zero

JUST TO RECAP: You won’t see a COMPOST HEAP or worm farm at our place, and that can be a shock to some. Read here to find out why we DON’T DO COMPOSTING. We trench instead..


>>> If it was once a plant, it’s in <<<

Fruit & veg scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, includes CITRUS & ONION, egg cartons, non-glossy paper like printer paper, tissues, serviettes..
*PLUS one non-plant item – egg shells*

>>> Keep it in stainless steel <<<

There are lots of nifty cheap containers, but most will rust, leak and fall apart in no time. Buy Once; stainless steel, so it can be rinsed out and last a lifetime. These two are our favourites and have lids as well – practical on the left and dang cute on the right.

This is our stainless scraps bucket

🌿 UPDATE: Folks who use the Bokashi system have asked if this can be trenched rather than just using a scraps bucket – YES ABSOLUTELY. Bokashi is perfect for trenching, especially if you don’t have the space for larger composting. Get that Bokashi goodness into the ground, STAT!

Try the Bokashi system from BIOME
Try the Bokashi system.
You can get them from BIOME


>>> No meat, dairy, cereals <<<

There ARE ways to trench these, but not at Level 1. That story is for another time. For now, leave them out, as they’ll attract pests to scratch around after you.

Fruit stickers last forever and will be colourful and intact for years to come. Envelope windows used to be made of true cellophane. Not anymore. Keep them out too. Packing tape on the bottom of boxes is sometimes missed, and these days very glossy packaging print can often actually be vinyl wrap, not ink. Grrr.


>>> Dig, dump & fill <<<
(in a good way)

Most plants and shrubs feed in the top 30cm of soil, so that’s where we would like our trenching, to be the most benefit. Dig a hole between plants, with a shovel, or trowel if in a pot. Retain the soil.

Scraps from your bucket go in (not complicated at this basic level of trenching) and if it is summer time or ground is dry, give it a splash with the hose. Moisture is needed to break it all down. Backfill with the soil from the hole. Job done.

  • If you have pets, then fill only half the hole with scraps and cover well so as not to attract attention with smells.
  • Don’t have clever doggies around when you dig, as they will see you digging and may join in after you leave.
  • Best not trench foods that are harmful to your pets in case they get stuck into it, or trench it in areas to which they don’t have access.

By the time you have trenched holes between all your plants and get back to the start in a few months or so (depending on the weather and your soil type) it may well be already decomposed – worms and the microbiome will have already had a field-day and turned it into plant food, bar the eggshells and avocado stones that take a bit longer. 


>>> See all our trenching stories so far, here <<<

🕶👌 ☕️🍰🥂🧀

Try trenching instead

Try Trenching

This is a big one – one of the main things folks REALLY WANT to see in action when they visit our produce garden. It is scaleable, flexible, fast and effective.

You won’t see a COMPOST HEAP or worm farm at our place, and that can be a shock to some. Read here to find out why we DON’T DO COMPOSTING.
Try trenching instead…

Trenching is so easy it feels like a scam. It is about getting the good stuff straight into the ground. At its simplest, it’s just a hole in the ground, with scraps tossed in, covered in soil that came out of the hole, and #tadaa – instant buffet for the microbiome. It is part of our zero-waste regime that has followed us from a tiny house and smidgey backyard to acreage, but still serves so well.

You can do basic trenching in all sorts of places:

try trenching in a tiny house yard

Jump to

Think 2 litres of green scraps in a hole between plants in a small yard or a balcony pot.
This is the size we will look at today.

small trenching bucket
Level 1:
Stainless bucket of kitchen scraps
small spaces between plants
Food waste use in small spaces
try trenching in a medium family size garden


Think 20 litres of scraps at a time in home veggie beds
This is the closest to what we do here. Let’s explore this another day.

medium family trenching bin
Level 2:
use kitchen scraps + more
medium space in raised beds
Home garden bed ongoing maintenance
try trenching in a large community garden space

Go Large

Think 200-2000 litres of scraps in long trenches on acreage or at a community garden
This is a cool project we can do in Spring.

large scale community trenching via food waste recycling programs
Level 3:
use kitchen scraps + much more
large scale site rejuvenation
Large scale, long term soil and site improvement

There is a LOT to learn and apply of course, to get the most out of your waste, but we have made a start.

🌿 UPDATE: Folks who use the Bokashi system has asked if this can be trenched – YES ABSOLUTELY. Bokashi is perfect for trenching, especially if you don’t have the space for larger composting. Get that Bokashi goodness into the ground, STAT!

Try the Bokashi system from BIOME
You can get your Bokashi system goodies from BIOME.

Look wide; Grow well, folks.