Would you like a true dump and forget – no fuss, no muss – way to compost your kitchen scraps directly in your garden?
One of the issues gardeners have when they include kitchen scraps in their outdoor compost piles is that the food often attracts pests, such as rodents, skunks, raccoons, etc.
Indoor worm bins are a great way to compost kitchen scraps, but they take up space that some people don't have, and they require good maintenance to keep the worms healthy and to avoid breeding insect pests inside your home.
Fortunately, there's one way to easily compost your kitchen scraps – directly in your garden!
One of my gardening students, Debbi Richey, created a super simple composter. Her family calls it the “Worm Cafe”. She took a 5-6 foot long piece of 4″ wide PVC pipe, and drilled a number of 1/2″ holes at one end.
She spray-painted and decorated the pipe, because she wanted it tall enough to be able to use it by reaching across a fence. Be sure to use the kind of paint that's designed to stick to plastic. She then vertically buried the pipe 18″ deep in the middle of her garden bed, with the drilled holes underground.
She uses a simple and cheap cap to open and close the pipe, and keep out insect pests.
All she has to do is dump in the scraps and walk away! They decompose in the pipe, with the help of worms. Debbi has noticed that the plants closest to the worm cafe grow more vigorously, as their roots have access to all the nutrients released underground.
It's not necessary to create tall composters. If you'd like less conspicuous worm cafes, you can cut the pipe into 2 foot lengths, and leave only 6″ sticking above the ground. If your household creates a lot of food scraps, you might want to have several of these composters scattered around your garden.
The main limitation of this method is that it stops working during the winter, when the food can't decompose in the cold, and the worms go deep into the soil to hibernate for the winter.
Thanks, Debbi, for sharing your unique composting method with us!