Making up acronyms can be fun, so while I was making these pipe composters, I played around with many variations of names and letters.
My final choice was ‘Columnar Organic Nutrient Distribution Units’ or ‘CONDUs’
For those of you not familiar with pipe composting, here’s the good oil…
Small space gardens and gardens with isolated, sick plants can both benefit from a way to deliver a nutrients over time to fairly precise locations. Small gardens, also, may not have enough space for traditional compost tumblers and heaps and a worm farm can only do so much.
In step CONDUs to save the day!
As you can see from the pic, they’re terribly complicated to make. While checking YouTube to see if anyone else had posted on the topic, I found videos 10-15 minutes long!
That’s not bad for showing how to drill holes in a pipe!
Here’s my super simple method…
Find a length of pipe. About 1m long. Usually pipe narrower than 90mm doesn’t work too well, as it doesn’t hold enough compost to keep itself moist. I used 100mm (or for those still hanging on to the past, 4″) pipe.
Give yourself about 2cm or 1″ of clear space around one end of the pipe. This keeps the end a little stronger and helps the pipe to not break should it be pressed into the soil with too much force.
Then for the next 15 cm (6″) or so, go to town drilling holes. I go for 19mm holes You can make them smaller or bigger, though smaller block up too easily and bigger let all the goodies out too quickly
Then you find an end cap, or even (recycled) plastic. One time, for a biy of colour, I even used a bright shower cap! The thing is to be able to block the end that is above ground so vermin can’t get in.
To use, you dig a shallow hole (about 20 cm) deep and put the endof the pipe with the holes into it, then backfill around it.
Nearly fill the pipe with a compost and soak with water.
Place the cap on and walk away. Done.
The nutrients from the compost will now be delivered to a small area around the buried end of the pipe. If you’ve placed the pipe skillfully, this will mean that the nutrients are being delivered with pinpoint accuracy to exactly the plants that need them.
A lot of folks (me included) add worms for faster processing and all the extra goodies that they add. Be a bit careful with this. The pipes and compost don’t have a lot of mass and can heat up or cool down far too much and too quickly in the relative seasons. This causes the worms to do a runner out into the garden. That’s not such a bad thing, they’ll continue to do great things out there, but we really want them in one place.
There you go. CONDUs (or pipes with holes).