Learn About Direct Composting In Raised Beds

Learn About Direct Composting In Raised Beds

Let’s first of all, talk about what direct composting is. Direct composting is about putting your compost materials directly into the flower bed or simply the garden area. Rather than having a separate pile where the brown and green materials get to break down, allow it to compost in the actual bed.

This saves a lot of time as having to transfer your compost from bin to garden won’t be necessary. When you compost, you get to have rich organic matter available for your garden.

1) Compost Pile vs. Trench Composting

Below are some important points to take note of:

I) Direct composting is not ideal for large quantities of organic matter. If you are making daily trips to the composted, then you might not want to make use of the direct method.

The exception is digging a good sized trench and gradually filling it up. However, proper caution and care need to be taken as regards animals getting into your open trench.

II) In flower beds, ensure not to dig too close to plants so as not to damage the roots with your spade or shovel.

III) Having a pile or bin can be easier and faster as digging holes each time you need to dump your compostables won’t be necessary. However, if there are no pets in your yard, you could fig a trench and leave it open for about a week until it gets full. Once full, cover it.

2) How to Direct Compost

To direct compost, get together the organic matter you would like to compost. These could be kitchen scraps, grass clippings, e.t.c. Dig a small trench in the garden area or flower chosen.

Six inches deep could be better most especially if you have dogs as dogs are known for digging. Afterwards, dump your compostable materials into the trench and cover up with dirt. Using your foot, tamp down the first gently. Your organic matter gets to break down under the surface. This is a very easy way to compost most especially if you are a beginner in it and just getting started.

Direct composting has always been the simplest way to drive nutrients back into the soil quickly. Explained below is a method by which direct composting can be carried out in raised beds.

Materials needed: A shovel, cardboard, lots of organic material (frozen or fresh), mulch, wood chips, or any other dry material.

Steps to direct compost in raised bed

Remove debris and stalks from your garden bed. Small dried plants or any mulch can be exempted and left instead.

Using a shovel or any other garden tool, stab the ground to break up the soul and any small debris. This is a light till the soil doesn’t have to be worked up completely and it’s much better if you leave roots intact due to the fact that they help to hold your soil together and prevent soil loss as well as erosion.

Two methods are available in this step which are explained below:

A) Method 1: This method is ideal for shallow beds, rocky and/or hard soul. Have the entire area covered with fresh organic material and break up a bit, using the shovel. This can be done by piercing from above. By this, organic material is moved into the soil.

B) Method 2: This method is suitable for deep raised beds or areas with light and loamy soil. For this method, dig a hole in the soil about 6 inches to 1 foot deep on the basis of how sturdy the ground is or the depth of your raised bed (once you notice rocks being pulled out in the process of digging, stop digging). After that, fill in the hole with organic material and cover the organic material completely with dirt.

IV) This stage is applicable to both methods explained in III above. Here, you need to cover the fresh organic layer well with mulch, untreated wood chips, or perhaps, any other dry material. Ensure to cover the organic material completely so that flies or mosquitoes won’t get attracted to it. Using a cardboard, cover the mulch and weight down with blocks or rock-depth.

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When to Add Compost to your Garden Beds

How much compost needed to be applied and how often it should be applied varies depending on the soil characteristics and whether you are the type that gardens year-round. If is believed that there is a need to incorporate compost into your beds before each planting season.

If you are living in cooler climates, apply compost once per year. Cooler climate include: Northeast or Midwest United States, United Kingdom, or Canada where they have one major growing season which is from late spring to early fall.

For those living in the South or Southwest United States where there is a warm climate which offers year-round gardening, there is a need to add compost twice per year for accommodation of two growing seasons which are; cool and warm with a range of different annual flowers, vegetables, and herbs painted and thriving in each period.

For cool season which extends from approximately mid-September through April, add compost in late August or perhaps, early September. As for warm season whose planting begins in mid- to late-February and runs through March, you can add finished compost before spring planting season in your area. Note that if your garden is empty during intense summer heat, you can spread compost on it in a way that it covers the fallow soil to reduce erosion, combat weeds, and also, helps to retain moisture.


If your soil is loose, easy to dig in, and has a good drainage, layer compost on top of the soil and proceed to dig it in to a depth of 6 – 13 inches in one step. However, if the soil is compacted and having a poor drainage, it is best if you first of all, dig and loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches and then, layer your compost on top of the soil. You can afterwards, turn it under to a depth of 6 – 12 inches.