Posts Tagged ‘composting’

Think About Sheet Composting


Nancy Szerlag

My partner Jeff Ball bought the mother of all juicers and I am first in line when he’s ready to dump the leftover pulp. That finely processed mush of vegetables and fruit is perfect for enriching the soil in my vegetable garden.

I just dig a hole in the soil, dump in the gunk, and cover it up. Mother nature in the form of earthworms and soil microbes does the rest. They feast on that vegetable matter and quickly turn it into first class compost and then to humus that’s in place and ready to go to work at planting time.

Called sheet composting, I’ve been using this method of enriching the soil for many years. In late summer and fall I collect fruit and veggie scraps, liquefy them in my blender and dump them in the garden. I even add leftover coffee along with the coffee grounds.

Sheet composting is a great way for folks who have no place for a compost pile to build humus rich soil.

The great thing about sheet composting is you can include food such as sour milk and spoiled yoghurt that should not be used in a compost heap. And don’t overlook leftover cereal and cooked grains and beans.

It’s important to liquefy the foodstuff and bury it because; the slurry breaks down quickly, does not smell and does not attract animals.

When processing be sure to add enough liquid. The consistency should be that of a milkshake. Work in short bursts so as not to overpower the machine.

Consider picking up a used blender or food processor at a yard sale or the Salvation Army and dedicate it to making liquid compost.

When I’m feeling ambitious I include corncobs in the recipe, because they’re full of nutrients. In the old days farmers recycled corncobs by grinding them up to make food for their animals. My Vita Mix blender has an industrial strength motor and can process dense chunks of material, so using a small hatchet I chop fresh corn cobs into small chunks and add them to my potion. You could do this in a regular blender but the cobs must be chopped into very small pieces before adding them to the container.

Egg shells are a great source of calcium, but take a long time to break down so I make sure they are pulverized before adding them to the soil.

Sheet composing is best done in soil that lays fallow over the winter. However, in spring the enriched soil can be moved and used in all parts of the garden and landscape.

Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit free-lance writer. E-mail her at Szerlag@earthlink.net. You can read her previous columns at detnews.com/homestyle. -30-



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