I recently read in a book and also a few articles that tribes and peoples in the Amazonian Rainforest would grow medicinal trees and herbs in their gardens.
As they hold these trees and plants sacred and believe that a spirit lives inside them, whenever they collect flowers, leaves, fruits, or other parts of these plants they place an offering to the spirit near the plant, sometimes even burying the offering. Their offerings usually consisted of foods, sometimes uncooked foods, cooked foods, kitchen scraps, clay pots, or burnt offerings.
Eventually, after many years their offerings turned into good compost which turned into high-quality fertile soil. Nourishing their sacred gardens for decades or even centuries.
What is Passive Compost?
So this got me to the idea of passive compost. What is passive compost? Well, it is a composting method that does not include turning; does not include spreading the compost, and does not include adding worms nor lime. It’s an easy low maintenance and low effort way of composting.
In passive compost, you dig a small hole in the area where the permanent passive compost will be. Then fill the hole with grasses and weeds which will act as a sponge for water. The small hole also prevents the nutrients and soil from leaching out during rain.
Then you plant fruit trees or other long-term perennial plants directly around the compost.
From then on just keep adding your kitchen scraps and whatever else you want to compost on the compost pile. If you have organic waste that’s smelly simply add grass on top until it does not smell anymore, the grass will absorb the smells and hide the ugliness of the rotting material.
After a while, the roots of the trees and other vegetation will start growing underneath and around the compost to absorb all its nutrients.
Worms will also naturally come into the compost so there is no need to add them.
The compost pile also does not need to be turned at all. Because the compost is passive it will slowly and naturally decompose. As long as you add course organic matter there will be enough oxygen in the compost pile.
It is not recommended to grow vegetables, herbs, or annuals around the passive compost, because pathogens of the compost could potentially contaminate the vegetables. Vegetables also have shallow and short roots and will not be able to grow all the way underneath the compost.
Trees and perennials have longer and deeper roots that can reach the nutrients of the compost.
To prevent the soil and nutrients from leaching out from rain you can add big logs, coconut leaves, straw bales, or similar things around the compost. As mentioned earlier digging a hole underneath the compost before starting the compost also prevents leaching from rain. This is especially important in areas with heavy torrential rains like the tropics.
Before I did not do any composting and would simply throw out all the kitchen scraps around the house on the soil, however soon after that we got trouble with rats, ants, and wild dogs. To prevent this I started the passive compost pile far away from the house and then build an iron cage around it to prevent animals from going through it. It has been working fine so far.
Every time I add new organic matter to the compost I say a prayer thanking Mother Earth for giving us life and food. This is my offering to Mother Earth.
Over the years the area will turn into high-quality fertile soil onto which the trees can grow bountiful.
Thank you for reading. I hope more will incorporate passive compost because it is a lot easier.