Adding kitchen waste to your garden without composting – should you do it?

We’ve seen many people skip the compost process and place their kitchen waste directly into their garden. While this won’t kill your plants, there’s some things to consider when taking this approach.

Among other things, one of composts’ benefits is providing nitrogen (N) to the plants in your garden. The process of composting is actually one of micro-organisms breaking down the decaying material. Here’s the thing – these micro-organisms require nitrogen for this process. Until the process is finished, the composting process will TAKE nitrogen. If this is happening in your garden rather than a properly constructed compost pile, your plants will suffer from a lack of nitrogen to the decaying waste in the soil rather than receive from it. This must be overcome with additional nitrogen. What value then is there in doing this? Personally, we think it’s best not to put non-composted material onto your garden unless it’s mulch which will not have this same effect. Unless you generate a LOT of kitchen waste, it’s not likely that it’s really acting as mulch.

That doesn’t mean you cannot add this waste to the garden before it’s composted, but one would wonder what is the benefit since you’ll need additional nitrogen to compensate for what’s used in the break down process? Until it’s composted, the waste will not provide many benefits. Rather, it will take longer to decompose into valuable nutrients than if it were in a compost pile and could also attract all manner of undesirable pests and critters to your garden – not to mention it will likely smell. Not to mention, who knows if things like Salmonella would easily transfer from kitchen waste onto your otherwise fresh veggies 😉

Save yourself the trouble and build a compost heap or pile. You’ll be able to receive benefits faster this way and with far less hassle.

One thought on “Adding kitchen waste to your garden without composting – should you do it?

  1. Great,this is the most useful thing I’ve found so far on this approach, you make sensible points.

    Still I kept wondering if the (apparent) lack of stuff on this it isn’t just because of taboo, an unrealistic expectation that nature should be as “tidy” and “clean” as non-organic environments so many people in the West have become accustomed to.

    I see decay as essential to life, a beautiful part of the cycle of life not something shameful or disgusting to be hidden away, it helps me grasp what soil is all about: “the death and the resurrection” (I use this analogy out of respect for christianity)

    I’ve reasoned that just dropping kitchen waste on the surface of the soil (not burying it or making compost) is what nature would be doing anyway, parts of plants just falling to the ground and rotting, still me getting some terrible disease from it would be perfectly natural too.


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