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Neighbors Compost Question
Old 02-20-2012, 10:39 AM   #1
Elora Lunasea
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Default Neighbors Compost Question

I figured this was the right place to ask this question since several of you do some serious gardening.

My next door neighbor has a really nice set-up in the backyard for their veggies - raised beds, takes good care of them and we reap the benefits of the overages. They've been quite generous, bringing us tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, etc. all last summer.

However, late in the season we happened to have to go into their backyard to take a look at how close their beds were to our detached garage because we'll be painting it and the house and needed to see the condition of it.

The first problem is that the beds are actually on part of our property as it turns out. I looked at our property map to make sure. There is a very narrow strip of land which is ours - just enough to allow a person to get behind the garage for access around the building; plus their fence seems to have been built possibly on our property as well but I believe it was put up before they moved into the house.

I could be an ass about it and make them move the beds - but I'm not going to of course. I did tell them that my painters probably will have to go back there and they were cool about it. I also told them they needed to remove the ivy which is attached to the wall there, which my town has bitched about to us and I've been mandated to remove. We've gotten nearly all of it down on the other sides but it keeps creeping back because of what's on the back. They also agreed to try, or at least keep it more manageable (it looks nice back there with the beds, I do have to say).

Ok, I digress.

The real problem is that they have a huge compost bin back there, just as you walk into the yard. When we saw it, it was crawling with flies. It was in bad condition, cracked and overflowing with compost.

Now, we understood why OUR house, seemed to be over-run with flies over the summer! I mean, we could not understand why we always seemed to have more than several of them in the house. We've replaced the basement windows since last summer which had ways for them to get into the house, so I'm hoping this will help, however, since the compost bin is so close to the entry of our home (the properties at that side of the house are very close to each other, and the bin not more than 10' or so from our house entry I'm guessing); flies are pretty much buzzing all around the front of our home so whenever we open the front door we're liable to have the come in.

I don't know how to politely tell them that they need a new compost bin. I mean, I was always under the impression that these items should be well contained, covered properly, and that if compost if well kept should not have that many flies living in it - or around it.

Am I incorrect in this assumption? Maybe someone can enlighten me as to what a "healthy" vs. "unhealthy" compost bin is?

If not, any ideas how to gently request that they fix the problem? I don't want to jeopardize the nice relationship we have. We have gotten friendly, and I suspect they don't have the money to purchase a new bin.
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