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Raised bed + Kitchen scraps?

 
William James
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Sorry for the crude pic. This is to get the idea across of what I have in mind.

I'm without water, so I'm hoping a plastic chimney full of juicy scraps will provide moisture for the bed.

Just worried about pathogens + anarobes.

Decomposition is fast in the summer, when I plan to install them. I'll take them out in winter.

This plus (plastic bucket + cork) Ollas are my main approaches to water this year. A lot of plastic, I know.

Any thoughts?
Thanks,
William

edit: added a slightly better pic.
kitchenscraps1.jpg
[Thumbnail for kitchenscraps1.jpg]
 
John Elliott
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Could be a good basic idea, but how to refine it? How deep will the bucket be buried? Does it drain by having small holes drilled in the bottom? Is it going to have worms in it? How do you keep the worms in and digesting the scraps? Are you going to add anything like wood shavings or biochar to it to keep other microbes working?

If you have healthy decomposition going on in there, you shouldn't have any stinky anaerobic pathogens. Maybe set it up so you can pull the bucket up, dump it into another one to aerate it, and set it back in.
 
William James
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Hi John,
The bottom is hollow, so it is in contact with very deep soil (20-30cm down). The small holes are the only contact with the surrounding soil that might have roots hanging around.

Was thinking of layering small woodchips or straw with scraps.

Once digested to the point where it could come into contact with outside soil, I was going to pull it out and move it somewhere else.

thanks,
William
 
John Elliott
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Didn't you say in another thread where you have clay soil? I'm thinking when you place your bucket, the bottom should be about 2" of the heaviest clay that you can find, and then water that in good. Then you can put your scraps and stuff on top of that. That will provide very slow watering to your raised bed, and nutrients as the scraps decompose.
 
William James
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Hi John,
I do have clay soil. At 30 cm it starts to get very, very solid. Potentially in the winter it goes deeper, as our water table is high in those months.

I've noticed that people who do composting in their yard using an in-ground method always have problems with stuff not breaking down and the area remaining very wet and slimy, probably because of the cooler temperatures underground.

Now, if that was in contact with soil/roots, I'd be worried, but this way the contact with the soil is near-zero and it's composting directly into very hard soil. I have holes so that worms can get in there and spread the goodness around without spreading the actual kitchen scraps around.

We'll see how it works. I have 6 of them that I'll be testing this year.

I'm imagining bugs could be an unfortunate side effect, unless I keep it covered with sawdust/woodchips.

W
 
John Elliott
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I don't think of bugs as an "unfortunate side effect". They are part of the ecology breaking down the scraps. I keep lots of boards out in the garden, and when I turn them over, they are a buffet table full of sowbugs and slugs for the chickens. When I top off a hugelkultur mound with fresh soil, it seems to draw the fungus gnats from all around that are looking for a place to lay their eggs. When you cover it over with wood chips or sawdust, you may not see as many bugs, but be assured, if you were to dig in, you would find them.

Sounds like a worthwhile experiment, keep us posted as to how it is progressing.
 
William James
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John
You're right.

I say "unfortunate" because I never imagined having to use a mosquito head net while I gardened. They can be a real pain, getting in your eyes and mouth. Having a dairy farm about 300 meters away exacerbates the problem of gnats. I just imagine this technique making the garden a gnat hotel. Need some bat boxes or birds swooping down on them.

William
 
Peter Ellis
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Just another variation on keyhole garden, isn't it? Certainly possible for it to work well, also possible to make a mess of it. Follow reasonable composting guidelines and keep an eye on how it is going, adjust appropriately according to what it needs...
 
William James
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Peter Ellis wrote:Just another variation on keyhole garden, isn't it?


The fact that it's a raised bed is kind of beside the point. This is actually a coping strategy for the lack of summer rain or irrigation. Or rather, it's one element on a list of elements whose function is to keep the soil moist in the summer months. The other we will be testing this year is Ollas.

The composting is nice side benefit, but it's also beside the point. It's the moisture that I'm really after.

William
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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