Soil Incorporation

Cold Composting by Soil Incorporation, probably the simplest method of composting.

A second cold composting process often used to make organic compost in your back yard is soil incorporation — that is, burying food scraps and/or yard waste in the ground, often on a daily basis. Perhaps you’ve seen people composting by soil incorporation since it is so simple to do especially if you have lots of free land.
Steps to Soil Incorporation:

1. Shred your yard waste and finely chop your food remnants or waste.

2. Mix your ground/mulched waste/chopped material with soil (animals don’t like eating soil with their food, so they will not bother with this chopped material)

3. Most important: Bury the mixture at least 200 cm (8 inches/12 is better) or deeper in the earth (It doesn’t matter where. I used to bury that stuff between my garden rows or at the end of the garden . Thus it would have a year to decompose.)

Depending on soil temperature, bacterial activity, and the carbon content of the wastes, decomposition will take from one month to a year.

One word of caution! Unless already partly composted, high-carbon materials (like raw autumn leaves) should not be dug into the ground next to growing vegetables or plants because as they decompose, they’ll steal their nitrogen from the surrounding soil.

In addition uncomposted leaves can acidify the soil or inhibit the growth of plants because decomposition requires nitrogen and nitrogen is needed for plant growth as well.

Some people get around this problem of “nitrogen stealing” by adding bloodmeal into the ground before digging  in compostable material.

So whether you’re dealing with leaves or other materials which require much nitrogen to decompose, these high-nitrogen materials should be given ample time to decompose underground before the area is used for planting.  That way the growing plants will  keep the much needed nitrogen.

So to summarize: You simply bury the decomposable material as needed without necessarily breaking it down (although breaking it down accelerates decomposition) and allow the material to decompose this year to create compost for next year’s planting.

Soil incorporation  is only one subsystem  of the cold composting system. Tomorrow’s topic is postholing, another way to make backyard compost.


Happy Gardening!


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3 Responses to “Soil Incorporation

  • 1
    March 10th, 2010 09:35

    You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it

  • 2
    March 13th, 2010 08:45

    I am reading this article second time today, you have to be more careful with content leakers. If I will fount it again I will send you a link

  • 3
    Mose Lentsch
    June 15th, 2010 21:39

    It does seem that everybody is into this kind of stuff lately. Don’t really understand it though, but thanks for trying to explain it. Appreciate you shedding light into this matter. Keep it up

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