Hiding a Compost Pile

Q: My new neighbors just cut down 3 pine trees that were on the border of my property. I kept my compost pile there. There was just enough sun and shade for good breakdown and it was nicely hidden. Well to say the least, we are exposed to the world now. And I am not too happy I might add.

All our privacy from neighbors behind us is gone. And we get to see the back of their lovely shed now. Any ideas on how to nicely disguise my compost? It's breaking down so nicely I don't want to take it to the recycling center for someone else to collect. I put hard work into that pile.

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Is there an additive to help it break down faster? I know there is supposed to be something you can add to make it breakdown faster but I don't know what it is.

Thanks,
Val

A: Val,

There are "compost activators" available to speed up the composting products, but most experts agree that they don't speed things up enough to off-set the cost. Compost needs air, moisture, time, space and the right balance of "browns" (carbon) and "greens" (nitrogen) to break down. Hot composting is faster, but requires more effort to maintain the proper ratios. A general rule is one part greens (like green grass clippings, food waste, etc., to two parts browns (dry grass, leaves, etc.) Try introducing a layer of garden soil or manure into every other layer of the heap. The layer doesn't have to be think, just enough to ensure the introduction of the naturally occurring fungi and bacterial organisms that are needed to start the process. Adding a little blood meal to the bottom of the mix will also help attract worms to the pile helping to speed up the process.

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There are several ways to camouflage or conceal your pile. Consider erecting three inexpensive lattice panels to make a three-sided screen, yet still give you access from the front. You can use cedar panels or paint them to match your home. If you have a fair amount of sun (say 6 8 hour per day), I suggest researching your zone to find our what types of option you have for planting tall, ornamental grasses, shrubs or flowering, climbing vines.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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September 20, 20050 found this helpful

There are additives for composting-google the topic and you'll find lots of resources. As far as hiding the pile, how about making a screen of sorts out of lattice. I like plastic lattice and it lasts forever without any care needed. You could even plant some climbing vines or roses to hide it more.

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September 22, 20050 found this helpful

How about planting your own tree. One that is fast growing......It should work just as well, without the tree. I like the plastic lattice also....

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September 25, 20050 found this helpful

i read a tip elsewhere that said a plasic trash can with the bottom cut off is a good compost catcher, then just remove the trash can and spread it when ready. It may not be beautiful, but it will be covered.

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