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Crazy idea! Composting in pots in raised beds?

Posted by crookedgarden Japan (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 13, 14 at 23:29

So... what do you think would happen if I sunk pots into my raised beds here and there, and threw my fruit and veggie and weed waste into the open pots?
Would the leachate leaking from this lazy composting be beneficial for the veggies grown in the surrounding raised beds, or will it kill my vegetable babies?
I used to use a large bin with a lid for composting, but always ended up without enough browns, and a big sloppy, juicy mess.
I used to just pour out the leachate from the bin since it had no drainage holes at the bottom, and the weeds and daffodils in that area came up gangbusters this spring compared to everywhere else, which led me to this crazy idea.
Someone with more experience than me, let me know what you think, please! Thanks in advance!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Crazy idea! Composting in pots in raised beds?

It would lessen root space for existing plants and/or take the place of a plant that could exist in that space.

If you have the space for it...and low "critter" could do something once it actually composts (and you take enough care to mix proper greens/browns to keep the compost active).

Overall it seems it would put too much "good stuff" away from the bulk of the root zone of where your plants are, though. A thin/shallow trough might be a better idea, but getting something like that active enough to properly compost would be an issue.

RE: Crazy idea! Composting in pots in raised beds?

Sheet composting aka composting in place has been practiced for many decades and works well IF you first resolve the problem of properly balanced compost. If you can't solve the amount of available carbons (browns) then you'd end up with a mess in the bed rather than out of it in a separate pot.

What you are describing is similar to a Keyhole Garden. In them the open-sided compost bin forms the center and is the high point of the garden. You might want to do some research on them to see if you can make it work in your situation. But you still have to resolve the compost components issue.

Another alternative in your situation might be Vermicomposting.


RE: Crazy idea! Composting in pots in raised beds?

Your idea is similar to something else I've read about but haven't tried yet. I forgot the official or accepted name for this method but I'll call it a worm tube.

By putting in a pvc pipe into your garden area about 4-6" or so, you can dump scraps into that pipe in a vertical fashion. The hope is that the worms hanging out at the bottom will be eating and taking care of those scraps, then moving around to different areas of your bed. So they will help keep decreasing the food level and you can keep adding to it at the top.

Now I don't remember if you would need to add browns to that also to have regular composting happen at the same time as using the worms at the bottom.

Regarding your comment that you can't find enough browns, there really are plenty that you can use. It is not necessary to be something like leaves. It can be paper towels or newspaper, which we should all be able to find lots of. Hope that can help you continue with your other compost pile since it does sound like you are trying to find a way to get more compost (or use up your scraps)

In a worse case scenario, you can even let your green garden trimmings dry up a bit and then they become your browns.

This post was edited by gardenper on Thu, Apr 17, 14 at 13:50

RE: Crazy idea! Composting in pots in raised beds?

I wouldn't do it, for a number of reasons….

One, you still have to fix the browns to greens ratio even if you did it in your vegetable beds, so why take up the space in your raised beds? You may as well keep the compost bin and fix the balance as others have said.

Second, it's expensive to build raised beds and then space is limited. I would rather use that space for higher production.

Third, If you keep it in a pot in the bed, it's going to smell and attract critters if it is not being composted correctly. Without coming into contact with the soil and without the right amount of browns. Plus in a small pot like that, I have to wonder if you have enough volume. I've often read you should make a compost pile at least a 3x3 ft size.

Cardboard is another good brown. You can get all kinds of cardboard from many different sources. On Freecycle, people are always offering moving boxes.

RE: Crazy idea! Composting in pots in raised beds?

How much compost are we talking? I've heard of something called spot composting where you just bury a small amount of kitchen scraps right in the ground. But I think that only works with small amounts of scraps and a lot of ground to put them in.

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