Fences that disappear

Trim, layer, trim, layer. That’s the sound of us filling our composting fence.

It took us about 45 min to dig hole, plant post, pack gravel, then string the wire mesh. Subsequently, we fill the fence at our leisure.

Drag over the pile of branches from the Japanese maple, break them down, drop them in. Trim the pine, layer the lovely needled limbs. Cut back the hedge, drop it in. Layer on layer to the top.


Baracka sunning herself…

P.S. Our fence was recently featured on Digginfood.com, with much nicer photos I must compliment!

UPDATE 9/1/2010:

People occasionally ask ‘How fareth the composting fence?’ (well, usually in more commonspeak). A photo and some words:

The colours have obviously faded, but we still like how it looks and continue to receive compliments from passersby. We’ve added perhaps 2′ of material to the fence since it’s first filling 1.5 years ago. We do NOT have compost pouring out the bottom of the fence. For one, we used a lot of large diameter materials (i.e. branches) that will not decompose any time soon. For another, although tall, the fence is only 6″ deep, which will tend to dry out. Dryness does not lend itself well to decomposition.

In summary, it is a nice fence (visual barrier of the ugliness beyond), it continues to provide a repository for random prunings of shrubs, but does not produce copious amounts of compost. If you’re looking to built a fence and have material to fill it with, build this fence. If you’re looking for a constant supply of compost, build bins.

READ the 2011 update and more about composting fences here.

This entry was posted in compost bins, composting fence, DIY, Sustainability, update. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Fences that disappear

  1. how's this working out? I'm considering this kind of thing in a community garden and would love to know how your fence has aged. Are you gathering compost? How often do you top it off?claytonb@siteworkshop.net

  2. FishGirl says:

    Clayton, thanks for prompting me to post an update! I think the answers are there, but will further clarify that we top it off several times a year, whenever we have material to prune. I'm a big supporter of community gardens and would love to see this fence 'take off'. Let me know if you want to come see it and/or discuss further.

  3. Pingback: DIY Project: Compost Fence | DigginFood

  4. Another benefit you may not have considered is that your “fence” is an excellent bug hotel, offering excellent overwintering possibilities for beneficial insects.

    • jkmcintyre says:

      Definitely did not consider that!

    • Carine says:

      Instead of puting water into your bin pee in it (I`m not jknoig) urine is full of minerals and also will activate your composting. You will end up with nitrogen, potash and phosphate rich compost. I have been making compost for 55yrs and it works better than farm yard manure

      • jkmcintyre says:

        I let my guy pee on all sorts of things in the yard. Will have to direct him to the compost bins. The fence, however, I think I will leave alone – too visible from the street!

  5. Bethany says:

    Does it get really dry? I want to do this but would you feel it is a fire hazard?

    • jkmcintyre says:

      Hi Bethany,
      I don’t feel it is a fire hazard, but of course during the driest part of summer it must be. A deeper fence would be less likely to dry completely. Personally, I just don’t worry about stuff like that.

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