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Composting in the shade? Garden on septic drainfield?  RSS feed

 
                        
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I have a couple silly questions! In the past our composting was always just done in a big pile somewhere out of the way, because we lived out in the country and that worked fine.  Now however, we have moved into a neighborhood. We have limited useable space in the back yard and a lot of shade.  The previous owners left a pen of sorts that was probably used for chickens or rabbits for 4h, and I'd like to take that and convert it to a composting area.  It would be large enough to have 3 piles going at once. My question is... it is somewhat shady, will that affect how hot my pile gets? 

My second question is this... I'd like to put in a garden next year. The problem is that usable ground is again a problem. We live in the middle of cranberry bogs so I am concerned about pesticide runoff, there is also a  huge drainage ditch running along one side of the property which I'm sure has added all kinds of awful stuff to the ground.  The only real spot I have sits on top of the drainage field for our septic tank.  Any ideas of any kind of raised beds I could put in that would be economical as well as not allowing any of the yuckies in the ground to contaminate the produce? Or am I just being overly paranoid?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks!
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Compost does fine in the shade.  In fact, I would say compost does even better in the shade because some of the compost critters don't care for the sun!

As to your second question:  oh my .... 

I would be really careful with planting anything over the septic drainfield.  That drainfield has to be just the right distance to the surface to work right.  If that distance gets to be too much (because you've put a raised bed on top) it won't get enough oxygen and then all sorts of problems start to happen!  Plus, I personally wouldn't want to grow my veggies over the drainfield.  Some folks might be okay with it, but not me.

I'm starting to think that your best bet might be container gardening:  lots and lots of half whiskey barrels.


 
                        
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Thanks!!! I have to say, I was feeling the same way about the drain field... but had lots of people telling me to go ahead.  I think I'll try your suggestion of the whiskey barrels around other areas of the yard, I guess there's really no reason my garden has to be in one part of the yard. 
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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If you lay down some 2x4's over your drain field, you can put the whiskey barrels on top of them.
 
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