Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Growing a Compost Pile

turfs cut from several years of sidewalk encroachments
I wanted a composting system without spending any money. I'd heard of sod houses, so the thought arose: why not use sod to build the walls of a compost heap?

My neighbor had recently cut back the turf that, over the years, had encroached on the public sidewalk. It lay on the parking strip for a couple of weeks drying out but not decomposing, and slowly killing the grass under it. No-one objected, so I decided to do something with it.

Several wheelbarrow loads later, we have a U-shaped structure of sod walls:
sod walled compost heap

Notice the cinder blocks between the east wall and the wooden fence. My mother-in-law suggested, wisely, that we wanted to protect our fence and I had a few blocks lying around.

I started the heap with a layer of needles raked from our yard, added a little yard waste. As the heap grows, I suppose I may need to reinforce the sides with more sod, but I like the idea of having living walls!

This is an experiment. I can't think of why it would not work, and it is certainly economical. The worst outcomes would be that the compost would convert to dirt slowly, or that the entire thing might collapse, but neither outcome is especially bad, since we can always spend money and buy lumber to build a more formal heap.

Meanwhile, I'm growing a compost heap!
I don't know how well this will work.

1 comment:

Small Footprints said...

I really like the idea of using sod to build your compost bin ... and I don't see why it wouldn't work. In fact, I would think that the sod would allow more air into the bin allowing for faster decomposition. Perhaps the compost would, in turn, nourish the sod in addition to creating nutrient rich soil. Brilliant!

You have the best ideas ... always creative and fun!

Take Care!

Small Footprints