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..

STEP 1: WHAT GOES IN, AND WHAT TO KEEP IT IN

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

 (First picture) Fruit & veg scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves (NOT the teabag – it contains plastic fibre),  CITRUS & ONION (contrary to popular belief), nut shells… *PLUS one non-plant item – egg shells*

>>> extra carbon, for grit <<<

(Second Picture) Remember too to add extra carbon – fibre from paper, cardboard egg cartons, non-glossy paper like printer paper, tissues, serviettes…all torn into bits. We have a stash of this stuff torn up ready next to our recycling box under the sink.

the trench bucket

>>> 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.

stainless steel trenching bucket with lid
stainless steel milk billy can

UPDATE: Folks who use the Bokashi system have 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! In fact, you can save some money and use the Bokashi activator mix in your stainless bucket and skip the plastic altogether 👍🌿

Try the Bokashi system from BIOME

STEP 2: WHAT STAYS OUT

>>> No meat, dairy, pet waste <<<

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

One more to mention is cereals – bread in paritcular. A crust or slice torn up here or there is fine, or an old biscuit broken up, but toss too much in one go and the rodents will have a field day. This goes for compost too. Spread these out thinly across your waste. Hosing them into oblivion once in the trenching hole helps to dispurse them too, so that pests don’t decide to move into the literal bed n breakfast provided.

>>> Trenching traps <<<

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. Oh, and one last-minute addition – teabags. Most these days contain plastic fibre 😭 so they are a no-no. If you are an avid tea-drinker, please consider switching to leaves 🙏

STEP 3: OUT IN THE YARD

>>> Dig, dump and fill <<<

Most plants and shrubs feed in the top 30-40cm of soil, so that’s where we would like our trenching – that is a bout a full spade depth, which is also the easiest to dig.  At that depth, It is the most benefiticial to plants, and prevents the good stuff from turning anaerobic (being starved of oxygen), which makes it putrefy and stops the process being helpful. 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.

Trenching Level 1
Trenching Level 1
stainless trenching bucket

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.

➡️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.

>>> Recycling organics <<<

We will look at this kind of trenching green waste in another story, but essentially, aside from collecting scraps etc. from the kitchen, the other MAJOR source of organics (plant matter) is the exact stuff that took the nutrients out of that garden space in the first place. ie. the previous crops green waste. Digging the leftovers from harvest back into the place they came from goes a long way toward replenishing as much that came out as possible.

Pictures:
Left – dig trenching hole to fill with what came out of that bed.
Centre – Dig next hole, covering organics as you go
Right – Organics are now covered and next hole dug ready for filling

STEP 4: CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENT
🕶👌 ☕️🍰🥂🧀

Look wide; grow well, folks 🌿