Saturday, July 24, 2010

Green Ingenuity: Compost Pile Heats Water for Shower

We are going to start a new series here, perhaps once or twice a month, highlighting "green ingenuity" - things you may not have heard of before that make a great contribution to solving problems or challenges of the world, all with a green bent.

I came across this amazing video a few days ago while doing some research. Why didn't I think of something like this? Here's a video from YouTube of Brian Kerkvliet at Inspiration Farms. They made a compost pile around a long hose. As the compost decomposed, enough heat was generated to provide 500 hot showers over the life of the pile. Very ingenious. I definitely want to try this some day. Hope you all find it as cool as I did. - Carrie



    Hey I'm building a vege garden at the moment and i'm just wondering (regarding plant spacing) how close i can plant to the garden edge of a raised garden bed (railway sleeper). If the plants have to be 15 inches apart do they also have to be 15 inches from the edge of the garden bed.

  2. What Pigs Don't KnowJuly 28, 2010 at 7:33 AM

    Good question. I would NOT plant the same spacing from the edge of the bed as you would between plants. In theory I'd plant them slightly less than 1/2 the distance. Meaning in your case I'd plant them no more than 7.5 inches from the edge, and probably a little closer. Otherwise that's valuable bed space that you'll be missing out on. If you think about it, there will be no root system coming from the railroad ties as there would be from another plant, so in effect you have "extra" space to install more plants. I'd probably even cut it from 7.5 inches to 4 or 5, but my brother (and gardener extraordinaire) would probably side on having more space. He thinks over-planting beds is actually the downfall of many a gardener. Hope this helps. The other thing that may be an issue in your case is if the railroad ties are treated or not. I know people have been using old (treated) railroad ties for years to make gardens, and if they are abundant and free or cheap I understand it may be some peoples' only option. But there is alot of discussion out there regarding chemicals leaching into the soil from treated woods, and then making their way into the food you are growing. Just something to think about. Good luck! I'm posting a picture tomorrow of our new beds, so we'll be in the same boat going into the fall (or spring for you I guess!). -Carrie