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Patrick

It might be a little optimistic to expect to grow anything on it in the spring. Sometimes I find compost has to sit through an entire summer before it's ready. During the winter it goes slowly, because its cold. I wouldn't worry too much, it'll probably take 10 minutes to scoop it up and move it if it's necessary.

I wouldn't worry too much about animals getting into it. It can happen, and to be on the safe side don't put any food like meats or whole nuts in it. You are more likely to have animals if you have a big compost pile, because it will get warm -- maybe up to 60C. If you give animals a big pile of warm compost, it's like giving them a home with central heating for the winter.

I use composting containers for my kitchen scraps that have a 300 liter capacity. I add to them as they decompose, and I find I can put in about 3000 liters total. When they are full, I scoop the top layer of not yet decomposed stuff off the top, and use the compost on the bottom. The not yet decomposed material provides the start of the next container full. It's very messy, but not really a very big deal.

At my garden, I have compost piles which I add to until the end of the season. At the beginning of the next season, I start a new pile and use the old pile when it's ready.

Jane Perrone

You're best off covering it over as you go - a few inches of soil will do.

Then once it's full you can add a final layer of soil to the whole of the remaining "dip" to bring it up to the level of the surrounding soil. It also helps to line the trench with cardboard which helps water retention.

You should be able to plant beans and squash on the spot in May/June and they'll go away like a treat - the addition of soil on top of the kitchen waste means it breaks down amazingly quickly - if you dig around in early summer you'll probably find no signs of it ... amazing!

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