“It’s all a compost heap. You just put down a layer of humus that helps other stuff grow. Your work will all be forgotten, but it will help stuff grow. — Murray Edelman

Learning heaps

I‘ve had a compost caddy for a while and I built a bay in the garden but it didn’t seem to be working very well. Things just sat there instead of rotting, something I forgot at the back of the fridge seemed to have a shorter lifespan than my compost!

I didn’t think there could be much problem with the caddy so I looked at the heap in the bin. No-one wants a compost heap in the middle of their garden and I’d built the bay by the hedge at the back. Being Leylandii the hedge had nicely sheltered my heap, in particular from the rain. Despite recent showers the heap was bone dry.


Taking action

Action 1.
I watered the heap.

I knew that you are supposed to turn compost heaps but it wasn’t very big and I hadn’t done so, there seemed little point.

Action 2.
I turned it anyway.

Lo and behold there was some rotting going on at the bottom! I was surprised and (a little) encouraged. I watered the heap again later but this seemed silly . . . so

Action 3.
I gave the hedge a major trim.

Could the results go on the heap? Well I put most of it there (A few bits looked too woody). Later reading suggested it should be fine but might take longer to rot. Fingers crossed.

I knew that a mixture of things on the pile was a good idea so I thought I’d get some of the leaves that collect at the side of the house and add them to the heap

Action 4.
I shovelled up the leaves and put them on the heap.

This revealed that a lot of the leaves had already rotted down in situ showing me how it was done.

A few days later we had some rain and this time it did fall on the heap so hopefully no more need to water.


Hopes for the future

So where am I? Obviously this is a long term thing, any good results will be months down the line. I do feel good that there was some progress already and I hope I’ve made a step forward. There’s not much work needed to keep it going so it’s something I should be able to keep up. Hopefully I’ll be able to make a positive report in six months time.

This blog was written by Andrew Parkin – Fall into Place volunteer.

Are you composting? Let us know!  @Fall_into_Place  or  sarah@fallintoplace.co.uk. Let’s do this! 

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