Wild West Yorkshire, Sunday 21 November 2010
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AT THIS TIME of year, my twin compost bins always end up stacked high with hedge trimmings and debris from the veg beds so, as the treated wood that they're made from is, after 20 years, starting to disintegrate in places, I'm now constructing a new, larger, improved version.
It's got to fit into the same corner as the old bin but I can expand it a little bit further forward and to twice the height upwards. This time I'm going to the trouble of giving it a double wall of two layers of timber with cardboard cartons sandwiched between as insulation. This should protect the micro- and macro-organisms that are active in breaking down plant material from the excesses of summer heat and winter cold.
Going that bit higher means that I can devise some kind of lid so that the heap can double as a potting bench or work bench at the far end of the garden.
By dividing it in two I should find it easier to turn the heap to keep it well aerated, transferring material from one side to the other if necessary.
The timber I'm using is 100% recycled. When my neighbours were demolishing a summerhouse (which had formerly been a timber conservatory on the back of their house) I saw them walking up the garden towards the skip with long lengths of tongued and grooved timber. I begged it off them and they passed it over the hedge to me. That was 2 or 3 years ago and the timber has been leaning against the shed ever since. Paul the gardener made short work of cutting it to size on Monday, while I put points on the uprights, which are lengths of 3 x 2 inch timber from the same conservatory. This morning I finished painting the timber with non-toxic garden wood preservative and this afternoon came the most satisfying part of the whole job; putting it all together using 2 inch galvanized nails. I drilled every hole to avoid splitting the ends of the slats.
From being a heap of miscellaneous timber looking the worse for wear, it now looks like an asset for the garden. I realise that it wouldn't be too difficult to go one step further an construct a shed . . . or a timber studio at the end of the garden.
Richard Bell, illustrator
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