Compost Heap Build – part 1

Compost Heap Build – part 1

At Garden Furniture Central, we’ve a bit of time on our hands for planning and dreaming about the months ahead so we decided to start a compost heap build.   It’s a good time to tackle those jobs that always get put to the bottom of the pile before the phone goes mad with people wanting a new metal patio table and aluminium garden chairs.

If only I’d know twelve years ago that the key foundation to a thriving garden was a really productive compost heap, my garden would be in a much better state.   Instead I spent pointless hours at back breaking weeding when I could have been spent doing something much more enjoyable, not to say profitable.  True, I’m now in the very lucky position of having some great contributions as the family has grown; not only do we have hens (and my gardener tells me chicken manure is the very best), but guinea pigs who provide sodden newspaper and sawdust in equal quantities, and the ace in the pack; a grass fed pony.

What to do with all this good stuff, start a compost heap build!

Up until now it has been stacked in a disorderly pile but as anyone who knows anything about composting will tell you, you need two heaps; one to mature, and one to work with.  One of my new year’s resolutions is to do it all properly so with a little help from our friends at google, here’s my summary of how to begin a compost heap build.

The Right Site

When picking the perfect spot for your compost heap build, try to go for a level, well-drained site, so that any excess water can drain away quickly.  This will also help the worms get to work breaking down the contents.

Size Matters For Your Compost Heap Build

A compost heap should be about a metre square for optimum productivity.  If it gets much over 2 and half metres in diameter, it is in danger of providing too much heat and combusting!

Compost Heap Build Stacking System

A quick tour of the internet shows that probably the best system for a compost heap build is to go for a stacking system of square frames which rest on each other with a small gap between each layer for aeration.  The stand about 4 rows high (and is a basic version of my old, now redundant beehive composters).

The drawback with this system is while it is easy to erect and dismantle in order to rotate the compost, you will need to fork all the material over the top of the frame,   This isn’t an option for me since I find the manure too heavy to manipulate.

My List Of Compost Heap Build Requirements

2 x Bins

Easy to turn the heaps (or dismantle)

Easy to add new material straight from a wheel barrow

Providing structure and support

The compost heap build option I plan to go for is 2 bins, made up of 3 pallets and 2 pallets respectively – providing sides and a back plus a dividing panel.  I will then need 2 more removable pallets at the front in my case, since I need to keep the hens from kicking everything out of the heaps.   The pallets can be secured to each other with cable ties or rope.

We invest a lot of time, care and money on our metal garden furniture, so it has to be worth ensuring that our gardens look as beautiful as possible too – so get composting (I hope the other half is reading this …).


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