Bought ours from Sears. Shreds finer and faster than using a lawn
mower. Far more practical for a garden fanatic.
We shred large amounts of leaves each fall, for use in mulching and
composting the next year. We've got a B&D leaf vacuum to pick up
the leaves and blow them into the Sears shredder. The Sears shredder
sits on top of a garbage can lined with extra-heavy-duty contractor
cleanup bags and the finely shredded leaves get compressed as we
go along. Close off the bags with a nylon tie-wrap and store them
We bring in 70+ bags of leaves from around the neighborhood, plus what
falls in our own and next door neighbor's yard. The shredded leaves
(mixed with some cocoa shells) mulch the perennial beds and the vegetable
garden, plus serve as a major ingredient in batches of compost.
I also use the Sears shredder to chop up straw (for deep mulching potatoes
or patching the lawn) and shred newspaper (to add to the compost).
I really think someone is missing a business opportunity to sell bales of
dry, compressed shredded leaves to gardeners. They are far more useful
than baled peat. (I just recently saw big bags of dry, shredded straw
for sale, so maybe...)
Pat K. ('someplace.net' is comcast)
Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
My new Toro self-propelled lawn mower mulches them. I love it. The
only thing I have to worry about is a wind vortex makes a large pile in
one spot, but we just bag those up.
I love mulching the grass, too, doesn't leave a mess and don't have to
bother with a bagger.
If and when I get into composting, there's plenty of other stuff I can
throw in that. Come to think of it, all the leaves I didn't shred for
years have worked themselves into some planting areas and made the soil
more arable, easier to work.
One year I raked and had 30 of those plastic bags full and wasn't near
done. So I gave up on it, just left them to feed the lawn the following
years. But they are a fire hazard so I'm glad to have this new mower.
I didn't want to bother with a mower where you had to change the blade.
I'm sure you're right about that. But I have nasty memories of when my
son was a teenager and started cutting the grass for me (bless him for
that). He dumped it in the back and I had a huge mess I finally cleaned
up. We didn't know about composting then.
Composting has its benefits but is just more work and I have plenty as
it is. I was going to give it a try in a nice wide plastic bucket type
thing I found with ropes for handles. I notice it has a crack in the
bottom which would let the water drain out. Maybe it would work anyway
or I could put duct tape on it. But it will have to be satisfied with
crabgrass and weeds and if I ever get rid of that, I don't know what
I'll put in there.
I used to build bins and turn compost over like they all recommend but now I
just make very big piles and let is sit for over a year without doing much
to it. I do add garbage for a few months and pull out the largest weeds
that grow in it - otherwise it's pretty much on it's own. But it sounds
like you are a lot neater than I am so you might not be content with stuff
that doesn't bother me.
I doubt I'm neater; I'm the scourge of the neighborhood. Everybody has
their lawns perfect, beautiful landscaping, houses with everything, if
not perfect, kept in good repair, and I struggle. I could handle a pile
somewhere so long as it doesn't get junk and broken glass mixed in like
that pile did. Setting that red plastic bucket out would be a eyesore
now that I am finally starting to get some flowers and beautification
projects going again. And if I didn't read usenet, I could burn my
garage down because I was going to get it going in a handy place where
the gas cans are (accessible in the mess in there) and I already knew
that it generated heat. I don't exactly see how, but maybe it could
with fumes. Stuff is packed in there, another mess, potter's wheel I
don't want to part with, son dumped his weights on me, the guy who did
my cement work wanted to store his lumber in there. I don't care until
unless it gets to be too long. I let the grandson of the people next
door store his motorcycle in there. He left a couple of huge containers
full of dirty oil. Finally I got fed up with that and sat out there and
funnelled it into pepsi bottles, and my son took it somewhere. It took
awhile to get all that oil in those bottles and capped. I think he took
it to the recycling center, but I wouldn't count on it. A guy wanted to
buy the bike from me, but no, I didn't have the papers, didn't know
where the kid was, didn't feel like calling his relatives.
One day after more than 5 years he shows up with trailer and wants his
motorcycle. Was I glad to get that out of there.
The reason I balk at any pile is I constantly have a pile of brush I
dump behind my tree from all the trees in my hard. I can cut it up with
a chainsaw, but almost cut my finger off once, so am not so quick to get
that out, still have to get rid of it. We can burn again on certain
days, but I have to stand out there for hours and watch it. So I want
until I can get somebody to haul it away cheap. Sometimes somebody goes
through the alley wanting to pick up a few bucks. $20 is about all I
want to pay. If I have them take it to the landfill, they charge
another $10 which would make it $30. If I chop it up small enough to
put in those bio bags, I have to buy a sticker which is $1.36? Can't
remember. Bah. I'm waiting for my granddaughter's boyfriend to come
pick it up and dump it behind his workplace where they burn, but he
hasn't showed up yet and I don't want him getting in trouble with his
employer over it. Last time it went to somebody's firepit. Doesn't
matter. As soon as it's gone, there will be another pile there. I'm
sick of piles :-).
Oh, and I've spent hours cutting the bigger pieces and tying it up in
regulation size bundles. Then they will take it for free.
Couple nice cherry logs I was saving for him because he said he wanted
them. Those I can burn in the fireplace.
My little rant for the day. You used to set it out by the garbage and
they just picked it up. But, no now we have to go hi tech. We have new
garbage cans that belong to the city and a truck with an arm will now
collect the trash. That will be a disaster in the winter because the
alley doesn't get plowed. Plus an extra $8 a month (what else is new?)
and you can only have one can, you still can put out old furniture,
wood, blah blah, but if you put out one extra bag of garbage, they
really sock it to you for that. It's maddening. I'm very neat about
the way I put out my garbage. Now I'll have to hose out a damn can
because it will get to stinking eventually.
I've never had a bagger. I think they're a pain in the ass. If the grass is
too tall to mulch, then I'll take the blocking plate off the discharge
chute, and rake the clippings. One or two times like that usually provides
enough grass clippings to stir into the leaves from the fall and gets my
compost going. =)
-I went to school to become a wit, only got halfway through...
Now there's a good compromise for me at least with the grass. Thanks
for the idea. I hate to buy more stuff, but I saw at the hardware store
that have some plastic barrels with handles you turn every so often. I
will *consider* getting one of those if I can't find an improvised
I looked at those, and it seems a good solution for small-scale composting.
I opted to build my own a few years ago, and am glad that I did. It's three
bins, each 3x3x3 feet, with removable slats down the front, and 1/4" nylon
mesh on the remaining sides. It worked great, provided it was turned. This
year, I put my vegetable garden in raised beds, and filled them with a mix
of 50% river-bottom topsoil (screened thru a 3/8" screen), 25% composted
manure and 25% composted yard waste (both screened thru a 1/2" screen). I
won't be needing fresh compost for a few years, I don't think, so I've been
a bit lax in turning it. Too many other things to do right now, and no
hurry on that one.
As was stated earlier in the thread, you do need some grass clippings in
with the leaves (approx 20% grass should do fine), in order to move the
composting process along. It also helps to let the grass clippings dry out
a bit, before adding them to the compost. I'd spread mine out on a tarp on
the driveway until they'd start to brown a bit, and then add them. Looked a
bit strange to my neighbors, until they saw what I was doing with it. I
think I saw a tarp of them, on a driveway down the street, the other day.
Can a storm be officially designated as a tornado without touching down at
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