Trench Composting

Trench Composting 101

It might sound funny, but I love compost! It’s crazy to think about how much food gets thrown in the trash that could be used to improve our soil and grow new veg! We’ve got one of those black plastic compost bins in our garden, but seeing as it’s full, I decided to do a little bit of trench composting today.

Trench composting has to be the most simple and easiest way to get started with compost, and anyone can do it! All you need is a patch of soil, a spade and some kitchen or garden waste. It also just makes so much sense… you don’t have to keep moving compost around: just dig a hole where you want it!

I’ve just pulled out the last of the carrots from this end of the veg bed, and I won’t be planting anything in for about a month until I’m ready to plant out some spring onions and garlic. A space like this (or one that will be left even longer) is ideal for trench composting, as once you’ve buried your compost, you don’t really want to be digging and disturbing the area for a good few months.


  • The first thing to do is dig a hole. Generally speaking, the deeper the better, and I reckon you should aim for at least 30cm. This makes sure that any waste that might attract pests is buried too deep for them to bother.
  • Next, fill the trench with kitchen waste. You can put anything in the hole that you would normally put in a compost bin, but I would recommend avoiding things that will take a while to rot down. The smaller the bits you put in, the faster it will rot, so I like to slice the compost up with my spade at this point. Then cover the trench back over.
  • Now your bit is done, it’s over to nature! Over the next few months, the natural bacteria and worms in the soil will break down the organic materials you’ve added to the soil. This will then create a layer of rich compost, which will naturally be worked into the soil.


Right now (September/October) is perfect for trench composting, as it should all be broken down by mid to late Spring; but you can use this method all year round.

If you haven’t got a large bed, you can just dig small holes at random in your garden – just make sure you remember where you’ve dug! You can also dig a trench and gradually fill/cover as you fill up the kitchen compost bin.

The lovely layer of compost you’ve created is great for planting in, and heavy feeders like beans will love you for it!

Why not give it a try, and let me know your composting secrets!

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