I do not have quite enough ingredients yet to make a proper round of Elaine Ingham’s thermal compost, so I am trying the trenching method of composting instead. My intention is to build a raised bed for vegetables or possibly a soft fruit tree. The soil is compacted, so I started by digging a big hole (roughly 4×3′ and 2′ deep). I will add a raised bed on top, so my finished soil will be about 4′ high from the top of the soil to the lowest point in the clay beneath. Here is how I layered it and why:
1: (lowest point by the compacted clay) Wood chips that have been carefully stored to encourage mycelium growth. Fungi Hyphae can extract minerals from the clay to exchange for exudates from plant roots. Hyphae can also help break up compacted soils, retain moisture, and improve overall structure.
2: Burlap that has a healthy growth of Fuligo septica to inoculate the woodchips
3: Oyster shells to help with drainage, and add calcium carbonate as the break down
4: Bunny waste for high nitrogen to start the composting process. Also, worm food.
5: Leaf Mould to help inoculate with fungi, and introduce composting worms (Georgia Jumpers)
6: Frozen Kitchen scraps.
7: Dr. Earth compost starter to inoculate with healthy biology to breakdown all the food scraps.
8: Brown leaves for carbon
9: Green leaves for nitrogen and protozoa
10. Vermicompost + red wiggler cocoons
11: Compost that has gone through the entire process of anaerobic fermentation to inoculate with good anaerobic biology as well (I’m a little nervous about this)
12. (top of raised bed): cover with about 12″ of clay mixed with wood chips.
This bed will be much too hot to plant in this year, so I intend to plant clover or some other soil-improving bumper crop.