Turf Mounds

Spring is a popular time for people to take on a new allotment or decide to remodel their garden to perhaps create a wild flower area. Where this will involve removing a lawn or grass path producing turves a Turf Mound or Turf wall is an option.  It is also useful for those areas that has been taken over by grass but where the turves area not of a quality that would enable it to be relayed to create a lawn where one is required.

Adding large numbers of turves to the compost bin would occupy valuable bin space and slow the composting process. It might also introduce perennial weeds to the bin which is not desirable in a cold composting system.  A turf mound or wall,  depending on the shape of the space available, provides a simple means of turning turf into a very useful loam. On an allotment this has the advantage of enabling turves to be stacked to slowly decompose while the rest of the plot is being dug. We found that when we first introduced this technique  on our allotment site several years ago the local allotments officer thought the mounds where evidence of lack of cultivation until convinced that turf mounds are a recognised technique.

The procedure is simple stack the turves grass side down with the turves in each layer being laid in alternative directions.  This helps keep the stack together. A space can be left between the rows to enable air to penetrate the heap. On our allotment we did not make any additions to the turves but some sprinkle a little lime,  blood, fish or bone meal between the layers.  

The mound should be covered with a dark plastic sheet, tarpaulin or old carpet to protect form the rain and  light.  The loam will normally be ready for use in six  months to a year although some leave it for two or more years. The key point is that the grass, weeds and roots have died away.  

If you have photos of turf mounds that you would like to illustrate this page please send them to carryoncompost1@gmail.com