Chop and Drop
October 10, 2021
Hi there – I’ve enjoyed reading your web page and articles about composting, and wonder if you’ve posted anything about chop and drop? (your sheet composting instructions come close, but sound like too much work for us!) We have a very small garden with not much room for a compost pile or bin, although we do have a large garbage can that we do use. For years We’ve been practicing chop and drop to add organic matter to our soil. During the growing season, if we do any pruning, we simply chop and drop the material throughout the garden. After fall frost, we chop and drop the balance of the residue on our bed, sprinkle in cover crop seeds, then add Back to Earth composted cotton hulls and/or mushroom compost over the top. By spring, we have an enormous amount of material that either gets chopped and dropped, or put into the compost can. We practice “no dig” exclusively. My husband and I are in our 70’s so always looking for ways to grow more food with less effort. We’ve also had good success dealing with garden pests/problems without the use of any pesticides.
I try to keep track of our successes and failures with monthly video updates. Here’s my update for September: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0VII5UwBxY
I send this just in case this might be interesting to your organization. Perhaps you could post something for small spaces people with dwindling energy who still want to grow food!! 😎 Any questions, please let us know.
Answer by JZ: Thanks for sharing your experiences. I have been teaching “chop before you drop” in my classes for many years. This simple maneuver creates more surface area for the organics, which allows for better water absorption and surface exposure to decomposing microorganisms. Smaller decomposes better / faster. This maneuver is also mentioned for both cold / hot process, (sheet composting and worm composting) composting methods in our brochure: docs.nmcomposters.org/composting-in-the-desert-2018.pdf
In my basic composting classes I do present composting options for small spaces. Worm bins and / or a Bokashi bucket method, bucket in a hole. See Bokashi under Composting Topics in our menu.
My basic class is posted on YouTube: Home Composting Basics – YouTube
I do use several bins made from a trash can, which can be sized to fit a (small) location. See Homemade Bins under Composting Info.
We recently set up a straw bale bin composter at the Family Practice garden in Corrales.
Watched your YouTube presentation. You have a fine garden !
Great to hear from you and thanks for sharing your successes. I live in Rio Rancho. All the best.