Compost Smoothies Defined
A compost smoothie is basically compost-appropriate kitchen waste blended with water to break it down. Some people call it blender composting or direct composting, as you add the blended ingredients directly to the soil to do their work instead of putting them in a compost bin.
Compost-appropriate kitchen waste includes fruit and vegetables scraps, cleaned egg shells, coffee grounds and tea that have not been mixed with oils or meats. In fact, you shouldn’t use oils or meats in compost, in general; they will go rancid before decomposing properly.
By blending the kitchen waste and then burying it with crushed dried leaves or grass (they temper the nitrogen-heavy smoothie with much-needed carbon) in an unused garden bed or by pouring it directly onto the soil around a plant, you are able to add nutrients to the soil immediately.
Does it make sense to do this all of the time? No. Usually, we end up with more kitchen waste than I want to blend, so I throw it in the compost bin. Also, the slow process in the bin results in beautiful compost with readily-available nutrients. The direct-compost still needs to break down a bit.
I use the compost smoothie method early in the year so I can dig it into the soil several weeks before planting. Later, I pour it in a shallow trench a few inches around established plants and let the drip lines carry nutrients down with the water.
How did I learn about compost smoothies?
The Story Behind Compost Smoothies
Several years ago, my husband and I had an elderly neighbor whose overgrown yard was filled with poppies and ivy so rampant that it had even worked its way through nook and cranny into the inside of his house. Every other day, when the temperatures were warm, I would see him bring a blender jar out into the yard, pour its contents around the base of a plant, and use a spoon to mix it gently into the dirt.
When I asked him about it, he told me it was kitchen scraps that he didn’t want to let go to waste, and that it was easier to blend them up than to build a compost pile.
I couldn’t disagree with his quick solution to nourishing the garden. While I still keep a compost pile for fibrous kitchen waste that won’t blend easily, there are days when I prefer to mix up a compost smoothie.
Do you garden? What’s your favorite composting tip or process?