I heard somewhere that many plants over a large area actually share nutrients and minerals and try to distribute them across each other by the root system.
so i had the idea of putting a nice size composting pit right in the middle of all the plants on my farm so that way they would have even access to the compost nutrients and spread them out.
is this a good or bad idea? any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated!
Passive composting is very valuable, however, for different reasons than active compost. Active compost is all about rapid creation of biologically rich/microbial rich amendments for plants. A passive pile doesn't build a massive microbial community the way a hot pile does, but building passive piles does a number of really important things.
1. For woody stuff like tree branches or thick stalks from stuff like corn or okra, it assumes that they will take years to break down. Thus, it will continue to feed that area for years. Things like tomato vines or other vining plants (watermelon, squash, sweet potatoes) are a pain in the ass to try to turn. They are stringy and difficult to get a fork into. So piling them in a passive pile is the way to go. They'll break down within a year, but you don't have a tangled mess to contend with.
2. It creates a wonderful habitat for insects, lizards, and other helpful biota. In my garden, the lizards are such wonderful parts of the system. They don't eat plants, but they keep snail eggs in check and clean up other bugs. They like to hang out at the base of the bee hives. When a bee dies and gets carried out by the other bees, they are quick to scoop up the dead bee and eat it. A big pile of branches and bio mass is the perfect habitat for lizards, over-wintering spiders, and other garden friends.
3. These piles hold moisture and keep the soil below from being irradiated by the sun.
4. Passive compost piles with woody stuff are great fungal habitat. If there is a fungal network throughout your trees/orchard, the pile is a buffet to feed the fungi.
5. It's easy. Sometimes I just don't feel like turning compost. I don't feel like chopping-up the big stuff. Lazy is good. Keep every bit of carbon on site where it can feed the soil.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
Thank you my well lotioned goddess! Here, have my favorite tiny ad!
100th Issue of Permaculture Magazine - now FREE for a while