Try this Easy Method: Dig and Drop Composting

Vego Garden
Vego Garden

If you’re looking to compost, but are deterred by the hassle and smell of traditional composting systems, then consider the dig and drop method of composting. Dig and drop composting is a convenient way to dispose of food and kitchen scraps rather than sending them to landfills, which has a detrimental effect on the environment. When food ends up in landfills, it generates a significant amount of methane, a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide. 

In addition to helping the environment, composting will improve the structure of your soil by adding organic matter. However, not many have the time to maintain a traditional compost bin, nor do they find it feasible. An easy alternative to explore is dig and drop composting. To find out more about this composting method and whether it is suited to your lifestyle, check out the guide below. 

Try this Easy Method: Dig and Drop Composting | Vego Garden

 What is Dig and Drop Composting?

As its name suggests, dig and drop composting involves digging a hole and dropping compost in, then covering it with soil. Considered a simpler version of trench composting, dig and drop composting is versatile enough for most situations in the garden. On the contrary, traditional trench composting utilizes a larger designated space and crop rotations. Microorganisms and worms in the dirt will break down the food scraps, allowing the nutrients to seep into the soil and enrich the soil structure. 

Although it will take longer to decompose, dig and drop composting offers several advantages compared to other forms of composting. It is a simple and efficient way to enhance crop vitality without much effort. Make sure the food is chopped into small pieces, as large pieces will take much longer to break down. This can be done using a food chopper. 

Vermicomposting: An Improved Method of Composting

If you own raised garden beds, take your gardening to the next level with vermicomposting, or worm composting. Harnessing the digestive power of worms, vermicomposting enriches your soil with essential nutrients and increases resistance to diseases and pathogens. Although beginners often avoid traditional composting due to the stench and hassle, these problems can be easily fixed with vermicomposting. 

Vego Garden’s in-ground worm composter simplifies sustainable gardening. Like with dig and drop composting, simply dig a hole in the ground of your Vego Garden bed, bury the worm composting bin, fill with organic waste and worms, and let nature do the work. Unlike with above-ground vermicomposting systems, where you need to remove the worms during extreme temperatures or worry about harvesting worm castings, in-bed bins produce worm castings right in the garden bed. With in-bed composting, the worms will bury deeper into the soil, eliminating the need to bring them inside. 

Tips for Dig and Drop Composting

  1. Collect the scraps 

This can include leftovers from your garden, fruit and vegetable peels, and coffee grounds. With the exception of eggshells, avoid animal products such as dairy, bones or meat scraps. Large pits like avocados or peaches take a long time to decompose and are also not recommended. 

  1. Dig the hole

The depth of the hole is usually recommended to be 8 – 12 inches deep. However, if you choose to compost in raised beds, the hole needs only to be a couple of inches deep. The tall sides of the garden beds will deter pests encroaching into your garden and digging into the soil. For an added precaution, look for Vego Garden’s modular cover system, which can be customized to match the configuration of any Vego Garden raised garden bed. Avoid digging too closely to plants to minimize damage to roots. 

  1. Fill with appropriate waste material   

For faster composition, aim for a 30:1 carbon to nitrogen ratio. Browns (carbon) decompose slowly and greens (nitrogen) decompose quicker. Carbon-rich materials include dry leaves, straw and hay, cardboard, and sawdust. Green materials include table scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and garden waste. Generally, 50 – 75% of the material should be carbons and 25 – 50% should be nitrogen. Don’t overload on the amount, as it can take longer to decompose.  

  1. Bury your scraps     

Fill with soil. When burying your scraps, don’t press down too hard on the dirt, which can cause it to become compacted, hindering aeration. Consider putting a lid on top to counteract the destructive effects of pests. 

When dig and drop composting is recommended:

  • Areas with subpar or compacted soil 
  • Areas that you want to improve soil quality 
  • Areas that you intend to plant crops on 
  • Sparse areas in your raised garden bed next to neighboring plants 

Try this Easy Method: Dig and Drop Composting | Vego Garden

Advantages of Dig and Drop Composting

Dig and drop composting is a salient alternative for those who are deterred by traditional composting methods. They include: 

  • Requires minimal work and maintenance. You do not need to aerate, turn or til the soil. After you cover the hole with soil, you can forget about it.
  • Doesn’t take up much space. Compost bins tend to be large. If you don’t want to compost large amounts or don’t have the space, this unobtrusive method is ideal. 
  • Doesn’t attract pests. Compost piles can attract flies and other unwanted pests. Dig and drop composting attracts fewer pests because the waste is in-ground.  
  • It is very inexpensive. Anyone can try it – all they need is a shovel and some scraps. You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on advanced composting systems. If it does not work out, at least you won’t have misspent money. 
  • No smell. Once it is buried, the compost doesn’t smell. 

Try this Easy Method: Dig and Drop Composting | Vego Garden

Disadvantages of Dig and Drop Composting

As with any method, dig and drop composting can come with some disadvantages. Fortunately, they are not a major cause for concern. Here are a few minor drawbacks to watch out for: 

  • Not suitable if you have large quantities of waste. Dig and drop composting is suited for gardeners with limited quantities of waste. If you have large amounts of grass clippings or food waste, then other composting methods, such as trench composting, may be more applicable. 
  • Slower than regular composting. Dig and drop composting takes longer to break down, releasing nutrients into the soil slower. It is meant to be a passive approach that disposes of small amounts of kitchen waste. 
  • May damage plant roots. When digging around, you may inadvertently damage plant roots. To prevent this, select a spot that isn’t too close to existing plants. 
  • It is bothersome to dig holes. Some people may tire of digging deep holes or tend to forget where they have dug holes. With raised garden beds, you only need to dig a couple of inches instead of 10 – 12 inches. Some gardeners also choose to maintain a large hole by continuously adding to it every couple of weeks. 

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