When I was looking into the opportunities for free compost in the area, I found Iowa City’s helpful, handy dandy brochure on composting. It was clear, straightforward and instructional, but also included a directive: build the pile no less than 20 feet from any house structure and no less than five feet from a property line.
Based on our yard, that meant setting up compost right in the middle of the back lawn. Ideal? Not so much.
But on Saturday morning, our landlord came by to show the upstairs apartment, and I corralled him to ask him about what he felt would be an appropriate location.
He pointed toward the back corner of the yard. The spot? Definitely within about 10 inches of two different property lines, and probably within about 18 feet of the house at the other end of our yard.
I took it upon myself to explain to him the vagaries of Iowa City law.
“Oh, don’t worry about it,” he said, naming the tenant renting the house I pointed at. “They’re very into environmental stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if they wanted to throw their stuff in there, too.”
I eyed the spot, wondering if, in fact, good compost makes good neighbors.