Buried Compost Pit

by Ian

I obtained a 60 gallon barrel for the purpose of a buried compost pit. I drilled many 3/8" holes in the bottom and approx 1/3 up the sides. The bin is 39" tall and I buried it in a sunny location of the yard so that 10" is sticking out of the ground.

I got a cement ring to put on the ground around the top of the barrel and then stacked 2 rings of firepit bricks around the top. I have a steel lid that with the bricks should deter any pests.

Do you think that this is a good idea and will the organic material break down in this environment. I am hoping it acts as a huge worm tower and never has to be shoveled out.

Your Pit is a Digester

Well Ian I think you've got something that will work well for any scraps that might be coming from your kitchen.

The way you have made this is very similar to a green cone. This is a digester as opposed to a composter.

A digester doesn't produce compost but it is a great way to manage the food waste stream from the house. You can add any food waste including meat and dairy to this type of set up without too much worry.

You could also add a certain amount of pet poop to this system especially since you do not plan to dig it out to fertilize the vegetable garden.

About 90% of this waste will drain into the surrounding soil making the area around your pit lush.

There will over time be a build up of the solid material but I think you'd have a few years at least grace before having to empty it. And at that time you could opt instead to just make it into a small garden and site a similar system in another sunny spot.

Some Limitations

This system will work for food waste but it isn't suitable for large amounts of garden waste. Your grass clippings, fall leaves and major weedings will need to be
composted above ground. They would fill up your pit too fast and this pit is something you want to never empty or otherwise manage if possible.

The cement ring and fire bricks are great from the point of view of preventing wildlife from rummaging through the material. The down side is that the cement may keep things on the cool side so you might want to make those bricks a dark colour so that they will absorb heat.

All in all I think this will be a great waste reducer which I for one totally support. Do let us know how it goes and what problems you run into. Also I'd love photo to show everyone what you've done.

Thanks for your question.


Buried compost pit
by: Ian

I buried my barrel last fall and have been adding ALL kitchen waste to it since then. It is near the top but every time I add a pail of waste the level has dropped enough to make enough room.

It is not as fast of a drop as I had hoped but I'll take what I can get.

I am going to be finishing my yard soon and we are going to be digging out an area for a small veggie garden. Before good dirt is added to that spot I am going to shovel out the barrel just so there is more available room and it will be one hole I won't have to dig.

I was thinking that I could keep adding to this thing till it fills up and then in the fall dig a hole in the garden and empty it into that. That way it can finish as trench compost.

Do you gave any problem with that?

Hi Ian

No problems at all but thought since you live so close by if you want I could come by and have a look. The only thing I might add is septic microbes as a booster but seems things are cooking along so far.

Contact me through the contact me page if you want a visit.

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