Ligaya Gardening Tips 17: Chop & Drop!

 Before you read!

We often get asked for gardening tips, so we’re trying to provide a weekly post for insight into the things we do to keep our garden going well with very little effort. I’ll collate them on this page in our blog for free viewing.

With that out of the way … Did you know that we don’t have a compost pile, or even a compost bin?

This week was actually the first time in months that the green bin for organic material went out to be picked up, and that was only because I’d cut stuff too thick for our mulcher to deal with. That is because:

With the Bokashi Composting system, the chooks, the mulcher and the worms – very little material actually builds up to compost with!


One of the reasons we’ve built this system is because we like the Chop and Drop method of composting –  especially in Summer.

As far as uses (such as cooking) goes, we figure that we only harvest a part or two of most plants. Despite that, the plant has to extract enough nutrients from the soil to build its structure and keep growing, as well as grow back what’s taken off it.

Chop and Drop basically means that you are returning the remaining organic material that you don’t eat directly to the soil around the plant that it came from. That means that more of the nutrients are eventually made available to the plant that needs them the most. It sounds fancy but it’s not: if you’re cutting a capsicum, don’t throw away the leftovers, use that.

You still have to fertilise in some way or another though! This doesn’t return all the nutrients at once, it’s more of a ‘fire and forget’ method. We still need to boost plants quickly for our food supply.

This method only works with light loads of material. We are regularly picking and pruning as we tend the garden, so a leaf or five here and there (chopped up a bit for easier access by the microbes and insects) and dropped directly where needed doesn’t build up enough to encourage pests and pathogens as they break down.


Reminder! Chop and Drop is an aerobic method of composting, as the material is left in the open where air and bugs can access it.

If you have a whole heap of pruning or something like a trailer load of grass clippings, chop and drop isn’t the best way to go. A regular, hot compost pile is the go to choice for you to start off with.

But if you’ve a constant, light supply of materials such as we have, Chop and Drop takes a lot of the effort out of gardening.

A family with a garden near Gawler where we experiment with sustainability.

One thought on “Ligaya Gardening Tips 17: Chop & Drop!

  1. Definitely sounds a good method for you!

    I read on the Permaculture Association U.K. website, I think, that chop and drop isn’t really recommended here. I can’t remember the reasons why. However, it could in part be because stuff doesn’t decompose that well – or maybe that’s just my observation.

    In any case, I do use chop and drop occasionally, when I run out of space in the compost heap. I can’t see it causing any harm, although the branches/leaves are light and tend not to stay where they are laid.

    Like

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