First of all, this is my first year doing any type of serious gardening.
I was cutting the tops off strawberries this morning while thinking about
something I heard on a gardening show that plays on the radio here. A
lady called in, said she cut up banana peels into dime-sized pieces,
worked them into the soil around her roses, and the rose bushes took off
and made roses like crazy. So my question is: why can't I just take the
fresh strawberry scraps, chop them up a bit, then sprinkle them around the
tomatoes, the bell peppers, corn, and whatever else I have growing out
there? I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel here. I know why people
compost in a pile, but it seems like a lot of the nutrients from
composting would also wash directly into the soil where the compost pile
is located. Why not put a few things directly in the garden so the
growing plants get more of the nutrients?
Because bananas are high in potassium, and roses like potassium. Got
a 'nana that's gone to mush, and you don't feel up to making a batch
of 'nana muffins? Lob that sucker at the base of your roses.
You could. Chances are, the strawberry cuttings aren't abundant in
any particular element enough to be particularly beneficial. There's
also the amount of effort, compared to placing them into a compost
bin, along with other vegetable waste, and letting things run their
course that way.
There is "trench composting" or similar - dig a trench, drop your
compostables into it and when full enough, backfill with soil. It'll
eventually break down, though not as fast as a properly set up compost
Which is why, if you've got a PILE, it's not a bad idea to alternate
where it's located. If I mound up manure compost to let it finish
composting, then doze it into the garden to till it in, the spot where
it had been mounded is very fertile, tills very easily, and has
retained a lot of moisture.
Well, in part because the process of composting a balanced compost
(the typical 30:1 C:N ratio) in a pile or bin is intended to help the
compost "light off" with maximum aerobic levels, raising the
temperature, which helps to kill off weed seed and pathogens, and also
to break down the material into its component nutrients. Scatter a
few misc cuttings here and there, and more likely, you'll just be
inviting the worms to eat, which is fine, but won't kill seed or
pathogens (or bug eggs) in your food waste, unless a worm consumes
In posted on
Sat, 02 Jun 2012 21:11:13 -0700 the following:
Thanks for the response. So far I haven't done anything for the plants I
have growing except water them, and aside from a few bugs munching on the
leaves of some red cabbage an jalapeno plants, so far everything appears
to be disease-free, but the plants are all still young since I was almost
too late planting. :)
You can do that. It would be more sensible to accumulate your vege scraps
for a day or two and then dispose of them together. It is not very uncommon
for people to not have a dedicated heap but to just bury vege scaps (and
othe useful material) in beds under preparation or next to existing plants.
Just leaving the scraps on the surface will be messy.
I'm not trying to re-invent
Happens all the time. The grass downhill from the heap will be the best in
Why not put a few
People use heaps because it is less work in many cases, it gives them
greater control of the product and where it is applied, because the
breakdown is quicker (especially in hot heap) and it concentrates the mess
in one place. If none of these are important to you then don't have a heap.
That's quite legitimate and can be done as either trench composting or as I
do it in a number of spots in the garden. I've cut the bottom out of very
large plastic pots, drilled very large holes around the sides of the pots,
(so worms can go in and out at will) submerged the pots almost to the rim in
the garden and put a lid on them with either upside down pot plant saucer or
old chrome hub caps. I've started seom fo them off with mature compost and
compost worms and then thrown in kitchen scraps and I've also started others
off with soild and a mix of compost worms and earth worms.
it is better to compost them in a bin with worms
or to use a heap or trench. i've been worm composting
(using both the red wrigglers and other species of
worms) for several years now. very fun, educational
and makes people laugh. see my other posts on the
topic (for more verbiage :) ).
some people don't want strawberry plants sprouting in
their rosegarden beds.
they can attract bugs/pests or increase populations
of bugs/pests already around.
consider the case where you have the innards of a squash
or melon. there are a lot of seeds in there. most of them
will sprout if not composted in a hot pile. worm composting
only consumes some of them and takes quite some time (so
far i have seeds viable in the worm bins even after a year
and a half).
banana peels are great, worms love 'em. same with
melon peels, no pretreatment needed for them.
for potato peels, carrots, beets, lettuce, celery,
brocolli, and other hard vegetables or stalks it
helps to chop and dry them first before adding them
to the bins. this helps soften/destroy the cell
structure and then when added back to something moist
they plump back up and it is much softer and the worms
go through them quickly (as compared to months and
months -- i have bins now that still contain beet tops
from last fall's processing that i didn't bother to
chop and dry as a comparison test case).
oops, actually, i don't have bins witd these any
longer as i put them all out in the gardens a few
dehydrating also gives you more control over
moisture levels in the bins. the worms don't mind
it if it gets pretty wet, but the bins may go
into fermentation if you put too much wet soggy
stuff in all at once. which is why i like to
spread the melon rinds and innards out over a
i avoid putting in a lot of raw onions, garlic or
citrus peels in all at once, if i have a lot of these i
bury them outside where they won't be disturbed. too
smelly or the worms don't seem to like them. we don't
eat a ton of citrus here so i haven't yet experimented
with drying and crumbling them gradually into the bins.
probably would make some difference. next time i have
enough to make a good experiment of it i will give it
your comment about the juices and good stuff leaching
out of a pile are fair. that is why i use bins/buckets
and worms, then all the nutrients are consumed or
retained until i put the worms/worm poo out in the
gardens and i put them down in the ground where the
roots are, not up on the surface. buried deeply enough
this will also help keep any seeds from sprouting and
also give the worms a cooler environment.
i do not separate the worms out from the poo as
once you get enough bins going you'll have plenty
of worms to use to start a new bin when you need
one. a few scoops and a bin is up and running. when
i put worms out in the gardens i take about 1/5-1/4
of a bin of soil from the garden to refurbish. this
is for the bins that have regular earthworms and not
all composting worms. this way i'm building up my
population of worms in all layers of the soil and
not just the composters of organic stuff near the
The 95% solution: feed such scraps to chickens, who will ravenously
consume them. out of the MANY squash seeds (from the "guts" I've fed
my chickens), I've had just four volunteers crop up this year in prior
locations of my chicken tractor. Of course, if the chickens were
still situated where they'd been fed the seeds, they'd have consumed
the sprout as it emerged, so survivors are merely a function of my own
process. I just dig 'em up with a post hole digger and transplant
Also, both are excellent sources of moisture, which the worm bin needs
taking some partially composted material and sending it through a
chipper-shreader with straw (from a straw bale) works wonders. Small
bits = more surface area, and therefore more surface for bacteria to
break them down.
some of us don't want to keep other animals
(or can't because of limited space or abilities).
for me keeping worms is enough.
right now i'm snipping them off when they sprout
in a garden where i don't want them to grow.
instant green manure.
heh, i just put out many lbs of very soggy
worms and they were very healthy. short of
swimming they are fine. heavier to move though.
and not recommended until there are enough worms
to keep it oxygenated. a bin with only a few
worms and a lot of veggie scraps will likely
ferment or get into other kinds of rot that
don't smell good. a wet soggy bin on the good
side of things smells like the bottom of a ditch
we wouldn't get enough use out of a chipper/shredder
to make it worth owning one. i did get a medium duty
paper shredder as that freed up more space than it took
up. that was my concession last year to gadgetry. it
has turned out very well as all the cardboard, cardstock
and paper now gets recycled for garden use (via the
worm bins or used as mulch). the worms really like
shredded cardboard (the secret is the glue and all those
spaces it has in it, plus it holds moisture well).
any pieces of wood that we have that we don't use as
an edge gets buried, the critters and fungi break them
I'm sure glad you're not my neighbor. You've worse than the lowest of
the low trailer trash mentalities... I bet you never bathe. Sounds
like a case of chronic laziness and cheap bastard disease. Placing
uncomposted foods/GARBAGE directly into your garden soil is a great
way to attract pests/vermin and introduce plant diseases. Farmers
till in silage but only at the onset of fallow periods so that there's
time for composting to occur before planting... what you're suggesting
is simply back asswards wrong. Start a compost bin and save yourself
a lot of grief. And plants don't need nor do they take much nutrition
from the soil (most people over fertilize), plants receive like 98% of
their energy from sunlight. Compost is primarilly a soil conditioner,
not a fertilizer. And very few plants have digestive systems...
plants don't absorb nutrients directly from organic matter, not until
the microbes have at it first.
I don't see where anybody said the result would be instant.
As such no. As a means of composting and re-cycling nutrients that would
otherwise be wasted yes it is beneficial. Take into account that a bucket
(thimble, cup whatever) of made compost does not have the same content as
the same amount of vegetable peelings and rinds.
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