After procrastinating, I mean being delayed for so long, the rails on the fence surrounding my dream compost system went up surprisingly quickly and relatively easily. We stood back and admired our efforts with a degree of pride and a smidgen of shock that we had created this and it was starting to look good.
Popping up the pickets was a two person job – well for us. I lined up the point of the paling with the top string line and then firmly held it in place against our spacer stick and Hubby the Un-Gardener drove in a multitude of nails. By some miraculous fluke they all fitted into the fence perfectly and so we were able to avoid having to cut down the end palings. All the animated discussion that could have easily been mistaken for arguing had resulted in things being done my way… most of the time.
Once the fence was up Hubby the Un-Gardener kind of lost interest. I had sold it to him as a lovely landscaping feature to define the carpark area. I may have somewhat under played the jewel in the crown, the reason for it all as some kind of low value addition.
If building the fence was a little technical, the compost section was quite complex. There were more variables than aesthetics to take into consideration. There needed to be good air flow and I needed to make sure that the compost wouldn’t rest against the wood and cause it to rot prematurely. I decided to use chicken wire, and while at this point it seems like a great and affordable solution, I have a sneaking suspicion this may require an upgrade sometime in the future. But it will do for now.
Once I lined the back of the fence with chicken wire, with help from Incredible Carl, who knows everything about everything, the railings were set in place across the posts to define the compost bins. Two things struck me… one – that is space for a lot of compost! And umm… they’re not the same size. I was hoping for bins about the same size so I could interchange the boards at the front to hold all the compost in place. But alas no. Never mind.
I nailed extra pickets to the ends of the three bin system for no other reason than it would look cool – oh and maybe the gaps between the pickets will contribute to great airflow. The chicken wire lined the inside edges to protect these pickets and then I kept going to make double sided chicken wire walls in the interior. At this stage I need to point out my bravery, because when I smacked my thumb with the full swing of the hammer and it hurt a lot, I didn’t say any bad words. Even a week later as I type this there is a throbbing that sparks into life when I press the space bar of my keyboard.
A thin length of wood was nailed to the centre of each post that marked the entrance to the bins and a picket was attached to this. This was functional and decorative because now I could slot the boards down the front that will keep my mountains of compost from tumbling out in a messy fashion. And it makes it all look a bit like a princess castle. I shall be the Queen of Compost.
Incredible Carl also helped me with the gate. He built the frame for me and I nailed the pickets to it. I was completely gobsmacked when they all lined up perfectly. So don’t under estimate the value of colouring in string lines with black marker pen. Incredible Carl hung the gate for me because it was just better that way.
But before I can swan about admiring my almost completed fence and compost system, I still need a few boards for the last bin as we underestimated how many we would need. And the ground around it needs levelling out so the grass doesn’t grow up through the fence and make it look messy.
But it is pretty much there and I’m chuffed. All I need to do now is make compost. I am going to use the lazy cold compost method where I’ll just set and forget for a year or two. I haven’t got the time of the energy to be turning it all over on a regular basis. Having said that, I have seen somewhere on the great big internet, a big compost corkscrew that you pop into your pile and give it a bit of turn. Easy. I may need to investigate further.
Although I will take care to avoid weed seeds and pernicious weeds. I will either have a large drum of water to drown them in or have a black sack to solarise them in. Both methods will render them harmless and useable as a compostable material. But it may be some time before the first load emerges from my new system as usable compost, so I am still stuck with buying it in at great expense for the next season or two. But don’t tell Hubby the Un-Gardener. Shhh.
Come again soon – I want to tell you a riddle.
Sarah the Gardener : o )