Tuesday, August 3, 2010

composting the small way

The general understanding of composting is that the activity is good and it helps improving the soil. Thus nothing is wasted. Decomposition of living matter has been going on for zillion of years. Man is not a necessary party to the way nature sees decomposition. It has been the job of bacteria, and other little insects. Snails and slugs love to bite leaves, and worms love to eat dead leaves and leave their black poo on the ground. Termites will bite woody material to feed the young. So that's how it goes with decomposition.

Now that man values the black gold of humus so much, decomposition becomes a man made adventure. The other day, at Putrajaya Floria 2010, a guy was selling composting machine at RM1000. Man decides to turn composting as a business venture.

But my little vegetable garden in Putrajaya Malaysia, with its constraint of space,  keeps doing it the natural way. The heap will take it's own sweet time, to heat up and transform itself into powdery dark brown material called compost.

a compost heap

another compost heap

yet another compost heap
these are dead banana leaves.

Fundamental Principles of composting ~compost org
Basic Principles of Composting ~LSUAg Center
Composting in the Tropics ll ~infonet-biovision.org



  1. I bet the worms and little buggies are happier in your pile.
    Those bins are overpriced and from what I hear, not as effective!

  2. Black gold it truly is! My compost bin is about 4 long x 2 wide x 3 high, consisting of 2x4's I nailed together. Not attractive, but it works. I found that I need more than one bin, so that bin is divided in half. Then I found that two bins is not enough, so now I have two bins and a large pile. It's slow work and I hate turning the stuff, but the pile is slowly getting smaller as it decomposes...

  3. Hi Bangchik, I currently have 2 1/2compost heaps! I tried various ways of composting but like this one better. I plant papaya trees next to the heaps and they reward me with constant fruiting.

  4. I am with Rebecca...I prefer this simple method, too.

  5. Bangchik, did you dig a hole? More space this way. But will be a tiring process he he...

  6. The natural method is the best!

  7. Yes, some composting the simple way is also practised in my garden. A banana tree is growing close by the compost heap and it fruits effortlessly:))

  8. Your piles look very familiar Bangchik. I do so love simplicity. ;>)

  9. rebecca

    It is about creating our own compost, so useful to the plants. Soil will be healthy, with improved drainage and the ability to retain adequate amount of water.
    With humus rich soil, tiny microorganism thrive and most are very friendly with plants.

    The open heap is simple and it can be made tidy and neat by regularly putting it in shape....

    yes, there are other simple method as explained by joseph. A simple wooden bin will help as far as look and tidiness is concerned. Digging hole has been done by many. My late dad will dig hole and put any biodegradable items and close.

    I guess this simple approach to composting has been practiced by many.

    Which ever method we used, the central issue is about putting biodegradable items back to the soil. So soil will remains healthy and ready to house more and more plants.....


  10. Hi bangchik, yes this is the way I do compost too. It takes its time, it's a relaxed and enjoyable method. I have dispensed with a shredder now. Anything confidential just gets composted. lovely post, from one compost fan to another.

  11. catmint.
    Thanks. Yes, the approach is very relaxed, and yet very close to way nature has been doing for million of years......

  12. Hi Bangchik,
    I think composting should be encouraged any way that works best for a gardener. Your way has worked for many years. The bin style composts work faster because the heat is trapped. I have two of the large bins but also have a a "natural" compost pile as well. The only thing different that goes into the bins are all the kitchen scraps so as not to attract animals.
    Happy composting,

  13. Doc.
    You are right, for kitchen waste nothing will beat compost bins... ~bangchik

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