How best to use minced kitchen scraps

greenepastures(9)April 7, 2014

I don't want to add it to the compost pile because the racoons and other critters might get to them. I've heard the best use of them is to add directly to the garden.

Should they be placed in a hole dug in the bed or just placed underneath the mulch layer on top of the soil?

We generate about half a gallon every 3 days (veggie peals, stuff from the juicer, etc)....

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Hi greene

I have the same concern. I bury it in a hole in the garden. So far I haven't had to bury it too deep. I know that, sometimes, the critters will even dig it out under the top soil. BUT I really find that digging the compost in is the quickest way to amend soil. The grubs and such come in and process all that organic material very quickly. In some cases the presence of grubs can attract skunks (locally) who favor them. I haven't had any problems, yet.

I suppose the key is to get it in there where the scent is completely covered.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:14PM
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Thanks ChickenCoop....

So grubs are the primary processors when done this way? OK...I always thought that grubs were no good in the garden...(shows you how much that I know)

I do have and endless supply of coffee grounds and I find that when I dig a new bed and mix the grounds with the kitchen scraps, none of by backyard wild life even sniff it.

So this newly amended bed is 4ft by 12ft and all the goodies have already been tilled in...leaves, lime, manure, coffee grounds, azomite, minced pine bark, compost, about 2 gallons of decomposing veggie scraps and some chicken manure fertilizer. It's mulched with about 4 inches of leaves. I'm preparing it for the fall to grow some tomatoes, broccoli, carrots & pumpkins.

I'm going to mark out some spots about every 2 feet, dig the holes there and add the scraps. How deep should the holes be? Any other recommendations?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 8:53AM
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In your case, you have a bed of it, so eventually the whole bed would be covered, but for others who just have a hole somewhere, and then they move on to another hole nearby, I have seen where someone would put something heavy on top of the hole they just covered up. This, at least, will deter any critter from digging at that particular area.

As for the hole depth, I've seen mention anywhere from 12-24", but the main thing is to make it deep enough to try to deter animals from digging into it. But usually that implies you leave that area alone for a few weeks or months. You are tilling it again later, so I'm not sure how that will affect how deep you will be digging.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:33AM
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Thanks Gardner8.....

12 -24 inches....whoa...didn't know I had to dig so deep...I was thinking no more than 12 inches....OK then...deeper it is..and I'll cover it up with the grounds...

The bed was tilled, amended and mulched so I don't have any intention of tilling it again...I'll just be adding organic matter in stages from here on out.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 11:08AM
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I just push back the mulch, dig a shovel depth of soil, dump in the scraps, place the soil on top, pound it down with the shovel, and replace the mulch. I do this every day all summer rather than add to the pile. Takes about 2 minutes. Usually have at least 1 quart of scraps each day. I'd never be able to dig a 24" hole in my 'concrete-like' clay. I dig one hole each day and after burying today's scraps move the shovel to the next location so I know where to dig. I have a short shovel so it's barely noticeable as garden decor! The only time I ever covered a burial plot with a concrete stepping stone was when I buried my cat and even then there were no signs any predators were at all interested.

Only once did my buried compost attract wildlife and that was late in the fall when a big old (and possibly sick) black bear lay down beside an old burial site to eat the worms. Scary, but since I've lived in bear country for more than 25 years having it happen only once does not make it a problem IMO.

If you are concerned about odors you could keep your UCG separate and sprinkle them on top. Likely mask any possible and more attractive odors.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:06PM
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Right the 24" may be for someone else who can dig that deep or doesn't have bears (!!!) for wildlife. You can do about 8-12" which is the about the size of a shovel.

In the case of the mulched area, that also adds additional inches on top after digging into the soil.

Oh I just read the part about digging every 2 feet. Since you have a nice bed set up, you can also dig a line along where you want to bury the components (a trench). As you fill up one area, you can bury that small section, then proceed down the line with additional components until you reach the end.

About 1-2 feet next to it, make another trench. Go through the entire bed this way and then come back and now do the 1-2 feet that you had skipped. As you do this throughout the season, you'll give a good coverage to your bed.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:21PM
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Thanks Gardenper & LuckyGal.....

a shovel's length it is...will take a pic and upload it...

Any other ideas anyone?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 7:59PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

My only contribution to the discussion would be to ask about the 'minced' in the heading. Mincing is extra work, extra washing up, extra noise and extra power usage, except of course for the stuff out of the juicer which is mushed up anyway. Are you mincing all the scraps? If so it's not necessary.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 6:30AM
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Greene what you've added there to be used in the fall sounds excellent!

I just dig in as much as my back will allow. I do have heavy clay, so it buries well.

Grubs to have a great role in the soil. And they'll navigate to where rich organic matter exists like composts and decaying plants and around plant roots. They eat a lot and, like worms, will deposit their poo for the soil. It's only at seedling stage that they must go. They climb up at night and pince off the seedlings at the base of the stem. You can avoid this in various ways, but one easy way is to place a toothpick at the seedling stem. Once the plants get large enough, the grubs cannot cut them off.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 6:04PM
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Kitchen scraps with coffee grounds = worm bait.

Place under a few inches of the compost pile or in the garden where you want the worms to get to work. In no time, you will learn how deep is needed for the unwanted diggers where you are, and what in particular attracts them. Those special treats then go a bit deeper.

Somebody in my back garden really like corn cobs and apple cores. By the way they dig, I'm pretty sure its the racoons.So I just made sure to bury that stuff deeper, and that stops them. Racoons are cute, but bigger than I originally thought and not something I enjoy bumping into at night on the way to the compost pile.

Most compost piles are deep enough to bury this sort of thing.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 8:29PM
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Hi Floral_UK

Most of the kitchen scraps are "minced" because they come from my juicer. The rest of it I cut up by hand with scissors...(peels of banana, plantain, avocado, potato)...nothing is left larger than one inch....

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 7:52AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

Certainly doesn't hurt anything, and they might decompose a bit faster, but food waste, being mostly the fruits of plants, generally composts faster than more fibrous and woody plant parts like leaves and stems. I rarely cut anything extra, except citrus peels and big stuff like melon rinds.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:18PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I don't cut up compost ingredients from the kitchen either - it just seems to be making work that the compost heap would do for me anyway.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:43AM
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I have a separate garden blender that I make kitchen scrap smoothies out of out in my garden shed. Everything from my kitchen compost pail, egg shells, coffee/filters, veggie/fruit scraps gets blended and dumped over my compost pile and turned in. Add a bit of water and it blends lovely. Yes it's extra work, but for me it's an art form. Yes, the compost will break it down for me but this way it gives it a head start. When I turn it I love knowing my 'compost salad' is thriving with a fine mix.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:18AM
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