There are just as many composting techniques as there are methods of farming. That is, everyone and their grandmother has specific composting methods that work best for them; however, some techniques have stood the test of time. And those are the techniques that we have listed below. The methods don’t appear in any specific order; they are simply listed in the order that they came to mind.
If you would like to skip directly to a specific composting technique, please click on one of the links below.
1. Sheet Composting
2. Invessel Composting
3. Biodynamic Composting
4. Anaerobic Composting
5. Trench Composting
6. Bokashi Composting
7. Black Soldier Fly Composting
8. Easy Composting
9. Hot Composting
10. Composting Barrels
Sheet composting, also known as sheet mulching, can be a great way to add organic matter back into your soils. Essentially, this composting technique entails spreading thin layers of organic materials (i.e. compost ingredients) on top of the soil surface. Some also consider this technique to be “composting in place.” Using green manure is another means of sheet composting. This technique is often used on a large scale, however, it can also be done successfully in your backyard.
To learn more about sheet composting, please click on the image of the garden beds above.
In-vessel composting is becoming more and more popular with large-scale compost producers. This method involves composting within an enclosed containment system, often a large cylindrical-shaped container. The equipment involved in setting up an in-vessel composting system is typically quite expensive, and therefore usually limits it’s usage to industrial-sized composting operations. Some smaller vessels do exist, however, they are often pricey. There are numerous benefits of in-vessel composting, such as an increased processing speed, year-round composting, and a highly controlled environment.
To learn more about in-vessel composting, please click on the image to the right.
Biodynamic composting evolved out of a complete system of farming developed by Rudolph Steiner, a Austrian philosopher. Biodynamic techniques are not just limited to the farmer’s field, they can be practiced in gardens big and small. Biodynamic composting is very particular in terms of the shape of the compost pile, the layering pattern, and the materials used. However, one of the most significant differences between this composting technique and others is the use of biodynamic preparations, or “preps”. These additives are plant-based, and are made in a very specific manner by highly trained individuals. These preparations are said to produce a compost that is far superior to all other composts.
To learn more about biodynamic composting, please click on the image of the vortex above.
Anaerobic composting describes the biological breakdown of organic materials by living anaerobic organisms. This may not be the most odor-rific composting method, but it can be quite effective. Some of the benefits of composting anaerobically include the following: it is one of the most basic means of producing compost; it can be done on a small scale; and it typically produces more humus per unit of starting material than most other composting methods.
To learn more about anaerobic composting, please click on the image of the skunk above. Why a skunk? If you’ve ever composting anything anaerobically, you know exactly why a skunk.
Trench composting involves digging holes in your garden soil and burying raw compost ingredients. Some people swear by this method, whereas others want nothing to do with it. Similar to anaerobic composting, this method of decomposition is quite simplistic, however, the materials tend to take longer to breakdown than when using other composting techniques.
To learn more about trench composting, please click on the hole to the right.
Bokashi is a Japanese term meaning fermented organic matter. Therefore, bokashi composting describes the making of compost via fermentation. To achieve optimal results, your compost materials are inoculated with a microbial starter culture, and placed inside a sealed container. These starter cultures consist of several different species of microorganisms, all of which thrive in anaerobic conditions. One of the most popular microbial inoculants is called Effective Microorganisms or EM.
Unlike some of the other composting techniques, this method can produce rich humus in as little as eight weeks!
To learn more about bokashi composting, please click on the fermenting bucket to the right.
Black soldier fly composting uses the larvae of the fly species, Hermetia illucens, to digest or compost organic waste (e.g. animal manure). After ravenously consuming large amounts of organic waste, the black soldier fly larvae enter into a pupae stage. These pupae are then harvested and used to feed reptiles, turtles, fish, chickens, pigs, and other livestock.
Composting with black soldier flies is a relatively new technology, however, we have already heard proponents of this technique claim the following: “black soldier fly larvae will revolutionize the way humans recycle their organic wastes.”
To learn more about black soldier fly composting, please click on the fly to the right.
There are actually several different composting methods that we consider “easy”. For instance, anaerobic composting is incredibly easy to do, however, some people simply don’t like it.
On the following page, we discuss one composting technique that defines easy. In fact, this method is so easy that once it’s set up, you can make yourself a drink and head on down to the beach.
To learn more about this easy composting method, please click on the image to the right.
Hot composting is also known as dynamic composting. This is typically the method of composting that is used in commercial operations. Some backyard gardeners also choose to use hot composting, however, it usually involves a lot of labor. The trade-off for this increased labor is a faster turnaround time for the completion of the entire composting process.
To learn more about hot composting, please click on the sun to the right.
Composting barrels, or compost tumblers, are a great composting technique for backyard growers. They are self-contained, clean, and if big enough, can produce a fair amount of compost in a short period of time.
You can buy composting barrels from a commercial supplier or you save your money and make one yourself. We discuss both approaches on the following page.
To learn more about this composting method, please click on the barrel to the right.