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Re: Re:garbage and composting
Old 12-10-2006, 11:26 AM   #21
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Re: Re:garbage and composting

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The key is to first turn off the printer, which will let it park the heads, and then switch off the outlet strip.
That's very true, it seals the print heads and keeps them from clogging and the cartridge from drying out. I caught mine just in time and a good cleaning took care of it, the color printer we use at work wasn't so lucky and I had to send it back for repair.
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Re:garbage and composting
Old 12-10-2006, 05:09 PM   #22
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Re:garbage and composting

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Originally Posted by ladelfina
With our big yard we ended up buying a $$ chipper/shredder
I've been wanting to buy one - lots of trees and hedge rows here but I can't find anyone to shred it for me unless they also get the job of trimming, which I'd rather do myself. Would you buy the same one again or a bigger/smaller one - any recommendations?

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We have not applied any to the yard yet.. I'm wondering if you really have to dig it in or whether a (lazy) spreading of some around will suffice.
Been composting since I was a little bitty thing and one thing I learned early on was *not* to dig it in. Spread it around on top of the soil (not right up against the plants, leave a little space) and let the rain/water soak it in and the worms/bugs drag it down. Digging it in just creates problems for the plants unless you do it well before planting anything.



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Re:garbage and composting
Old 12-10-2006, 06:33 PM   #23
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Re:garbage and composting

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...one thing I learned early on was *not* to dig it in. Spread it around on top of the soil (not right up against the plants, leave a little space) and let the rain/water soak it in and the worms/bugs drag it down. Digging it in just creates problems for the plants unless you do it well before planting anything.
I have heavy clay here, so in newly created beds/gardens, I till it in early in the spring as soon as the soil is 'workable'. In established beds/gardens I do as you say, just spread it around on top, and let my little fishing buddies work it in.....at least the ones that don't dangle on my hook!!! :
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Re:garbage and composting
Old 12-10-2006, 07:58 PM   #24
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Re:garbage and composting

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I'm also going to pick up a chipper/shredder in the spring (or maybe for Christmas) so I can get rid of the ocassional branches that fall or get pruned, and throw that into the compost pile as well.
We can take our branches and other yard waste to the county recycling center, they grind the stuff up there and make it available as mulch. Works great for us--if this is available to you, you might consider it. Get a small flatbed trailer with the money you save on a chipper (trailer = one of the best purchases I ever made http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=90154), drive your branches to the site, dump them, and load it up with as much mulch as you want. No blades to sharpen, and the gas used is about the same.
Where we are, the prisoners from the county lockup even unload the branches from my trailer when I pull up. My tax dollars at work.

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Re:garbage and composting
Old 12-10-2006, 10:40 PM   #25
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Re:garbage and composting

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Would you buy the same one again or a bigger/smaller one - any recommendations?
We have a 2.0 HP electric chipper and it's underpowered. Palm leaves don't go in easily, regular branches have to be under 1/2", and it's easily jammed by fibrous or wet material.

As a guy I'm not sure that there's a chipper in the world with enough power for the things I'd be tempted to shove into the feed hopper. But if I was buying again tomorrow I'd get at least a 3.0 HP with a gasoline or diesel engine.

Harbor Freight sells a good line but it's darn near impossible to get off their mailing list, which sends you a junk catalog every 2-3 weeks.
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Re:garbage and composting
Old 12-11-2006, 02:42 AM   #26
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Re:garbage and composting

Thanks Nords, I had suspected as much (bigger is better).

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As a guy I'm not sure that there's a chipper in the world with enough power for the things I'd be tempted to shove into the feed hopper.

That reminds me of a scene in the movie Fargo.
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Re:garbage and composting
Old 12-11-2006, 05:14 AM   #27
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Re:garbage and composting



Ours looks like this:

It's electric and 1.5 HP. Things being the way they are here, it cost us close to $500 as it was and we weren't willing to spend more for a more powerful one, nor did I want the smell, noise or maintenance of a combustion engine model.

It works fine, but it's a pain to set up and get the loooong extension cords out. I would love to have a semi-protected space where I could leave it covered but set up for "spur of the moment" shredding. It does create kind of a dusty mess in a 10'-12' zone around the machine.

I can't say for sure, but I think that a more powerful one would still have most of the same issues ours does, number one being WET material. Since the yard clean-up season here is also a very humid time of year, we have to stop the machine frequently to clean leaf paste that is stuck to the blades. (I don't think palm leaves are going to get cut cleanly by ANYTHING short of a surgical scalpel, if that; I even have trouble using a handsaw or big clippers to trim our palm.) Stopping the machine takes a while because of the safety "features" that make it nigh impossible to open: three verrrry loooonnngg screws that hold the cutting chamber halves together. There may be other designs but we didn't have a choice of model lines so I can't say..

I am not interested in chipping thicker branches, since we can use those for kindling; I just wish there were a way for it to deal better with wet/damp leaves since here there is always a heavy dew even if it doesn't rain.

Our "piles" are currently three 5-6' diam. free-standing chicken-wire cylinders, about chest height. This has been our first year and they are now (in their reduced state) all about 1/2 full. I plan to combine them to make room for new material, and will spread the "seasoned" year+-old stuff in the spring. Thanks for the tips on spreading.. I hope the worms won't be stranded up there, though, on top of the clay.. Samclem.. that is a great system your county has. It would be too logical for them to implement here!
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Re:garbage and composting
Old 12-11-2006, 11:46 AM   #28
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Re:garbage and composting

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Originally Posted by ladelfina
Our "piles" are currently three 5-6' diam. free-standing chicken-wire cylinders, about chest height. This has been our first year and they are now (in their reduced state) all about 1/2 full. I plan to combine them to make room for new material, and will spread the "seasoned" year+-old stuff in the spring. Thanks for the tips on spreading.. I hope the worms won't be stranded up there, though, on top of the clay.. Samclem.. that is a great system your county has. It would be too logical for them to implement here!
Our property is bordered by a chain-link fence, against which I stood four wooden pallets on end at a five-foot spacing. Then I just fill the three bays in sequence. By the time I've filled the third bay (a few months later) the first one is ready for harvesting. I scoop the first bay's undecayed stuff onto the third bay, dig out the rest (especially the worms!) and spread it.

By the time the worms have done their thing that clay won't be so much clay anymore. They take months but I'm not going anywhere. I'm really enjoying gaining a decades-long view of what we're doing to our yard. By the time I'm 80 I want this place in autopilot with no watering, pruning, or weeding required!
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Re:garbage and composting
Old 12-11-2006, 11:53 AM   #29
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Re:garbage and composting

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Originally Posted by Nords
I'm really enjoying gaining a decades-long view of what we're doing to our yard. By the time I'm 80 I want this place in autopilot with no watering, pruning, or weeding required!
I've been working in our yard/gardens for the past many years to achieve the same results as you, Nords.....but I'd like it to be on autopilot by the time I'm about 55!
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Re:garbage and composting
Old 12-12-2006, 05:22 AM   #30
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Re:garbage and composting

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(a few months later) the first one is ready for harvesting.
One of the composting advantages of living in Hawaii (right?).. nice heat & humidity year-round. We have a cold winter and mostly oak leaves that take a loong time to break down.

I even bought the Rodale book on composting and it really got into all the different 'flavors', chemistry, and architectural techniques. We opted for the circles as being easiest to set up, and with the possibility of easy dismantling and moving. Though I liked the 3-bin system, I didn't have an optimum wall site for this more dedicated structure.

BTW, over the holidays I read an excellent book called "Noah's Garden; Restoring the Ecology of Our Backyards" (from memory, I left the book in the US with my sister who lives in CT, as does the author-- a lot of the plant references are specific to that zone). It talks about re-establishing (to the extent possible) forests, underbrush, marsh zones and meadows that not only require less maintenance, but provide a habitat for local fauna (right down to insects, bacteria and so on) that makes the overall landscape healthier. Bluebirds, butterflies, and fireflies return.

Basically, ditch the sterile suburban sameness, reduce the amount of lawn and lawncare to a minimum, forget the pesticides and chemical fertilizers and Home Depot Japanese yews, and instead encourage a diversity of autoctonous bushes, grasses, and wildflowers, water features and plants that can provide sustenance for birds & smaller critters through the winter. While one or two of these oases may not be enough to attract larger predators like hawks and owls, the author's hope is that, if enough people undertook some of these measures, adjoining properties would end up with larger common 'reserves', where nature can do its thing.

A hopeful book, but also a depressing one, as we can see the trend has ever been in the opposite direction. The lawn is king (and many are his slaves).
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Re:garbage and composting
Old 12-12-2006, 04:22 PM   #31
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Re:garbage and composting

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One of the composting advantages of living in Hawaii (right?).. nice heat & humidity year-round. We have a cold winter and mostly oak leaves that take a loong time to break down.
Yep... it'd go faster if I kept it wet and turned it more frequently but I feel I'm putting in the right amount of effort for the results.
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