Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southwestern Deserts
May, 2010
Regional Report

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The Green Cone composter performs best in a sunny location.

Composting Alternatives: Part II

Here's another option for enhancing your "green" lifestyle by reducing the amount of kitchen waste sent to the landfill. The Green Cone is sometimes described as an in-ground "digester." It doesn't produce usable finished compost. Instead, nutrients are released into the surrounding soil for uptake by plant roots. Alternatively, you can harvest the contents in 9 to 12 months and add them to a compost pile or bury them in your garden to add organic matter.

The Green Cone has 3 basic parts. The bottom looks like a round plastic laundry basket, with numerous openings. It is buried below ground, where pests can't get to it, but all those wonderful soil decomposer organisms (bacteria, fungi and the rest of the gang) can get to work breaking down your scraps.

Above-ground, the Green Cone looks like, well, a green cone-shaped lid. Within it is a second, smaller cone that fits securely over the bottom portion so pests can't burrow in. The top cone has a lid where you can pop in your kitchen scraps.

The Green Cone should be located in a sunny location. Heat from the sun warms up the interior, and warm air circulates to the below-ground section to encourage more rapid decomposition. Like any composting effort, decomposition speeds during warm temperatures and slows in winter. Even without warmth, the Green Cone will chug along, but at a slower rate.

Keeps most kitchen scraps out of the waste stream.
No turning or mixing needed.
Takes a limited amount of outdoor space to set up.

Doesn't produce usable compost.
Needs excellent soil drainage and a sunny location to work at peak efficiency.
May attract digging pests. To stymie pests, wrap the below-ground basket in tight wire mesh, such as hardware cloth, before burying it. Pack down surrounding soil and cover with bricks, rocks, or pavers to discourage animals drawn to freshly dug soil.

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