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Growing on the Compost heap

Growing plants on a compost heap has a number of advantages.

For example;

Compost heaps in a garden can often be an unsightly but necessary feature, planting them up can often hide this fact.

In the process it adds another growing area, which in a small garden can be a great advantage.

The heat generated by the de-composing compost material will encourage an extensive root system and vigorous growth, similar to that described in the article; "Growing on Straw Bales"

Root activity within the heap will also help to break down the waste material,thus creating less need to turn the compost.

When the plants die back they can be dug back into the heap to return some of the goodness they have extracted.

Method:

Roughly level the composting material on the compost heap and add a 75-100mm (3"-4") layer of soil on it.

Add a top-dressing of general fertilizer at recommended rates.

Planting Suggestions :

Lay out seed potato tubers on the surface of the top soil 200-225mm (8"-9") apart and 300-350mm (12"-14") between rows, cover these with black plastic sheeting.

After a few weeks small humps will appear on the surface of the plastic, this is haulms (tops) of the potato emerging.

Cut + slots in the plastic to allow the haulms to emerge into the light.

Alternatively: In lieu of plastic sheeting cover the tubers with straw or grass clippings, adding more to the layer as the haulms grow.

To harvest, pull aside the plastic/straw/clippings and remove the potatoes as required.

If no top soil is available, excavate planting holes as required, plant plants, then backfill the planting hole with potting compost, as opposed to the material removed.

Plant out cultivars such as Courgette/Marrows, and Pumpkins about 900mm (36") apart.

A variation on the above could be use a ring culture method i.e. sink bottomless pots into the compost heap, fill them with potting compost and plant the chosen plants into these.

Filled rings in place

Young plant protection

Pumpkins & Courgettes







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