[Music] Hello! You’ve caught me clearing the last the
bean crop. At the end of the growing season, piles of cleared crops like this are a common sight – but what to do with them all? You could just add all this
material to the compost heap, but an alternative is to simply leave it
right here on the ground. Call ‘in-situ composting’, this is a fantastic way of
building up the soil fertility for next year’s crops. In this video, we’ll show you
how to do it. Composting in-situ is a great way to cope with lots of spent crops or sudden gluts of kitchen waste, for example when processing
fruits and vegetables for winter storage. Composting directly on or in the ground can divert organic material away from overflowing compost heaps, while directly improving the ground for next year’s crops. Finer material such as annual weeds, carrot tops and vegetable peelings decompose relatively fast. You can simply lay this material on the soil surface before covering it over with a thin layer of
well-rotted garden compost or manure. This is a simple but effective way to supplement traditional end-of-season applications of organic matter. By spring the material should have rotted down
into the ground leaving behind a beautifully rich surface ready for
sowing or planting. Compost ingredients can also be buried in trenches to
improve the nutrient content and moisture holding capacity of the soil. To make a compost trench,
simply dig out a trench about a foot (30cm) deep. Compost trenches are commonly prepared for vegetables like climbing beans that are grown in rows. The rich, moisture-retentive soil left behind will ensure
plenty of produce over the cropping period. With the trench dug, simply fill
it up with your compost ingredients. Suitable ingredients include annual
weeds which haven’t flowered, grass clippings, the chopped up remains of spent crops, and kitchen waste such as apple cores or vegetable peelings. Fill to at least 4 inches (10cm) deep, then cover over with a layer of leaves or grass clippings. Fill the remainder of the trench with the excavated soil. If you plan to plant a row of crops directly on top of the trench and need to locate it in spring, simply mark the position of each end
so you can easily find it in a few months’ time. Compost pits use the same principle as
trenches. Dig a hole fill, it with your organic waste, and cover with a topping of grass clippings or leaves. You can space multiple compost pits in close proximity,
creating pockets of nutrient-rich material that will feed the microbes and
worms in the surrounding soil. Compost pits are great for creating nutrient-rich
and moisture-retentive reservoirs for thirsty and hungry plants such as zucchini (courgettes), squash, or tomatoes. Plant directly on top of pits that were made
in the autumn, or dig and fill fresh pits in spring then set one or more plants
immediately next to or encircling each pit. As the material rots down it will feed the soil to encourage healthy, resilient growth and bumper yields. As as you can see,
composting in-situ offers a convenient way of processing all that nutrient-rich
organic matter back into the ground. It’s easy to do and next year’s crops will
love you for it! As always, we’d love to hear your experiences of
composting in this way, so do drop us a comment below. We’ll be bringing you more green gardening ideas over the coming months, so don’t miss out – click the subscribe button to receive
more great gardening videos. I’ll catch you next time. [Music]