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 Post subject: is there any reason i can't put compost against the house?
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 6:46 pm 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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Location: 5 mi east of philly
finished compost that is. (i swear we used to be able to type longer subject lines on the old boards.)

i have concrete blocks as the basement wall, and water is likely to leak in during heavy rains. i was wondering if it would be suitable to pile compost against the house (since i can get it for free from the town) and keep the water from running downhill from my eventual potato hills. (so it'll be the same height as the potato hills, basically.)

i mean i can go get topsoil if i have to, but free is better.

google is totally failing me on this question.

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 Post subject: Re: is there any reason i can't put compost against the hous
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 8:07 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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the only thing i can think of is staining your foundation/wall and maybe smell if you have leak-in? if it's finished (like from the town) it shouldn't have any smell besides the good compost smell though. and dirt will stain just as bad as compost, i suppose.

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 Post subject: Re: is there any reason i can't put compost against the hous
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 10:00 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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That seems like a bad idea. You want to move the moisture away from your walls, not add a whole new layer of permeable soil that will just suck up water like a sponge and add to the soil pressure on your basement walls.

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 Post subject: Re: is there any reason i can't put compost against the hous
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 6:22 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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maybe it would be better to consider how you could direct the water in your yard (hard to tell without seeing, I remember your driveway garden type thing but not a part against the house) using trenches, sandbags, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: is there any reason i can't put compost against the hous
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 7:10 am 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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it's this thing. (and actually, this part is perfectly fine with the drainpipe going into the soil there. it's the part just out of frame to the right.
Image

there was a 36 hour continuous storm the other day, and really, the leak wasn't all that bad. i think another 6 inches of height should help it not trickle down the foundation. normal rains would probably not be a big deal. (i'm going to put a rain barrel at that downspout near the leaks, but since that one extends to the neighbor's driveway, i don't think that's the problem. it was likely excess that didn't manage to make it into the gutters and flowed straight off the roof.)

i did narrow my search terms, and found this: (it was the only hit) http://www.bobvila.com/posts/11380-craw ... waterproof it mentions only putting soil, not compost. it won't be too bad, i remember finding clayish soil not too long ago. i'll just move the compost aside and move that back there. bonus, there'll be a spot where there's deeper compost. win-win.

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 Post subject: Re: is there any reason i can't put compost against the hous
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 7:48 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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ah, we have had the same problem with so much volume of rain that goes right over the gutters. it happened a few times over the summer and was making me nuts (we had just installed the gutters and i was sure it was a problem with them, it turned out it was just too much rain at the same time)

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 Post subject: Re: is there any reason i can't put compost against the hous
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 8:18 am 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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yeah, mr carrot went to check out the volume of the lake that's across the street and down some stairs, and he said half the steps were covered up!!!! what? even during sandy it only got about 2 or 3 steps deep. (i think there's probably about 15 steps total? i never actually counted.) it was a lot of rain. :-) OH!! i have a trashcan out there. i just measured. we got 7 inches. definitely not typical. (too bad i haven't hooked my rain barrel up yet.)

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 Post subject: Re: is there any reason i can't put compost against the hous
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:57 am 
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Heart of Vegan Marshmallow
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Mr. C and I have been obsessively watching Holmes Inspection in preparation for buying a house and every time there is earth against a wall of the house and the owners have leakage issues (often due to bad grading or gutters emptying against the foundation/wall) it is bad news because it brings moisture to the brick and encourages mold. Their fix is usually to dig up the earth and stick up a non permeable membrane on the outside of the wall (below ground level), then add a layer of gravel to the pit for drainage, then fill with dirt.

I like the idea of free compost as a bulwark but it seems to me it will hold on to too much water.

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 Post subject: Re: is there any reason i can't put compost against the hous
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:09 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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how did it all work out, supercarrot?

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 Post subject: Re: is there any reason i can't put compost against the hous
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 6:02 pm 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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oops, sorry torque. i was on my road trip when this was bumped by the spammer, so i didn't see it.

i ended up digging down and grabbing some clay and shoving it up against the house. that way i could plant the potatoes slightly deeper and i got rid of some clay in the growing area in the process. i haven't seen any cracking in my foundation yet, so i think it's not that bad, but really, i only raised it an inch or two. i got tired, and stopped. the potato hills ended up being taller than the clay ramp, but i didn't see any pooling, so i don't think it was all that bad. it was probably just really permeable. i didn't really get many potatoes considering it was like at least 30 feet of potatoes. (but then again, half of that growing area was from true seed-grown plants, so i wasn't expecting many potatoes from those anyway.) this year i will attempt growing them in trash cans so i can pile compost up much higher than i could on the ground.

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 Post subject: Re: is there any reason i can't put compost against the hous
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:27 am 
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Tofu Pup

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I think its okay to put the compost against the house but over time your house might get ruined by the molds and other living things in the compost.


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