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What is the best use of wood shavings/sawdust?

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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I know hugelkultur is better off with logs and sticks than shavings/dust/chips. I've mulched the blueberries with wood shavings before to good result.

These are teak shavings, two huge heavy bags of them. I am thinking of spreading them on pathways that I have been spreading cardboard on for about 9 months now. The cardboard is great so far, it didn't even blow away but a few bits during Superstorm Sandy. Not the prettiest sight to visitors and farm helpers unaccustomed with permaculture principles, but better than the footpaths through thick jungle that I used to be able to follow but some people got off of easily, trampling my friendly volunteer "weeds" that I like to keep.

Is there a reason not to spread them in paths? Will they take forever to break down because they are teak? Will they encourage things I don't want? I am enjoying the process of slowly building paths through the field that was an organic farm a few years back and became a successional meadow for a few years as I have been observing it. I am sort of thinking of good paths as a sort of hugel construction, where I pile various weed smothering, lift-feet-from-mud water holding edge. As I build it up with different materials I am observing how it ages and what it does. Fun.
 
Matthew Fallon
Posts: 308
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
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i usually just put sawdust and shaving in my compost heap(or around it to soak up water) and sometimes in my big outdoor worm bin .
i also have put it in paths and that's been fine. i get woodchips easily here and they are nicer in the paths.
the sawdust can blow all over if not covered in something else (chips,chopped weeds etc)

teak does take a while to break down because of the oils in it. i dont know of any toxicity issues. i would use it personally and not worry.it's only 2 big bags after all.
but i rarely work with it. when i made my hugelkultur raised framed beds, i did add whaterver sawdust i had in the woodshop to it also, its fine in a hugel i think,just not as the single/major component!

this season i may experiment with groundcovers in some paths. was thinking white clover or some other low growing beneficial plant?
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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The best thing would be to make bio-char with it, the next best thing is to compost it, it will need alot of nitrogen so use extra manure/green plants.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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One of my considerations is that for almost the whole year, until I have some wwoofers come for a couple of weeks in the summer, I do the lion's share of the work on the farm, and right now my twins are two and I'm pregnant. The least labor intensive uses hold extra interest for me. "obtain a yield" is one of my favorite principles anyway. Carting the stuff to the compost pile, finding it extra green stuff, turning the heavy teak pile, carting the finished stuff to the gardens... seems like a lot of work for me.

Even just two bags of something is a job to contend with. It has taken me a while, but I have finally begun to accept my limitations and embrace the very slow transformation of my little 3 acres to a permaculture paradise. I spend a lot of time thinking about ideas and plans, even though I am not able to spend lots of time in execution right now. It feels like being in love with my farm and its ecosystems and the sustainable future.

The biochar thing is interesting to me, I've never made it myself but from witnessing its effects, you might be right about that. Huge bags of teak dust and shavings are very very heavy, I don't think I can move them from the place where my friend pushed them off his truck.

I won't be opening the bags until after this predicted "giant" snowstorm has run its course, so I have time to plan.
 
Julia Winter
steward
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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I like the "spread it on the paths" idea. If teak takes a little longer to break down, that's a plus on your paths. If it's nice curly shavings, as in from a plane, they might grab each other and not blow away like sawdust. If it is sawdust I would place the big bags by the compost bin and throw some in whenever you need extra carbon. If you have 5 gallon buckets, you can use sawdust for a garden toilet (if you limit this to urine collection it's super easy). Think of the time you'll save not having to walk back to the house!
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Are you having another sets of twins, LOL.
Seeing as how you have limited "time" I would just use it as mulch.
And if it breaks down slowly that means that it will not rob the soil of nitrogen.
The sawdust is another thing, I really would not add the sawdust to the soil, that one I should compost.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Oh, I hadn't thought of the composting toilet, duh! I have an envirolet that needs some work and we do pee outside sometimes, but mostly we use conventional low flow toilets. Summer is easier in the peeing outside department! We have a great well with no water shortages and a septic system, but composting john is in our future. I wonder how long the sawdust in these bags would last. They are outflow bags for some woodworking system, bigger and stronger than garbage bags. Hmmm. THe twins are potty trained, maybe I should just keep a 5 gallon bucket handy for dumping the potties into.

The bags are dust and shavings mixed together.

Just one baby this time, thank goodness! I should start another thread about permaculture's answer to birth control...
 
Linda Berg
Posts: 2
Location: St Louis County, MIssouri
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Hi All.. New permie here... I saw a demonstration where they filled tubes of burlap with straw to make sides for raised keyhole beds. Would seem like a good use of shavings or sawdust. I have used shavings in my chicken coop, but dont really like how dusty it is to work around. Anyway, just a thought. I am always looking for ways to raise the beds. Oh, and another neat thing about the filled burlap is that you could sit on the sides.
 
David Goodman
gardener
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Location: Zone 9a/8b
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"I should start another thread about permaculture's answer to birth control"

My wife and I have just stuck with the "obtain a yield" approach. So far, that's yielded us a half-dozen little permies. Yeehaw!

On sawdust - I've actually used it directly in my raised beds and then dumped urine on it. No problem with nitrogen robbing, that I can tell. Of course, we foliar feed regularly.

And - heck yeah on the composting toilets. We've done that here too. Shavings and sawdust both work well for us, though we don't do the whole hardcore hot composting thing. Instead, we simply dig trenches near fruit trees, dump the buckets in there, then cover it up well. That way we're closing the nutrient loop and keeping potentially dangerous bacteria from being a problem.





 
siu-yu man
Posts: 99
Location: zone 6a, north america
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I saw a demonstration where they filled tubes of burlap with straw to make sides for raised keyhole beds.

awesome idea, linda, especially for those of us who have an endless supply of burlap coffee bags. was the demonstration online? if so, mind sharing?
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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my pre housefire garden had woodchip paths (mostlly aspen) and they were wonderful to walk on..weed removed easily and i got morels in the spring..I hope some day to have aspen chip paths again and use them also in my beds..i love them.

not sure about teak but would provide same type of bed..but last longer
 
Linda Berg
Posts: 2
Location: St Louis County, MIssouri
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siu-yu man wrote:I saw a demonstration where they filled tubes of burlap with straw to make sides for raised keyhole beds.

awesome idea, linda, especially for those of us who have an endless supply of burlap coffee bags. was the demonstration online? if so, mind sharing?


Not at all. It was an episode of the Victory Garden. Cannot recall which Calif city they filmed. the city had built these keyhole gardens in a plaza. Here is a pic of one
https://www.google.com/search?q=victory+garden+keyhole+garden&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari#biv=i|1;d|TK5IkjyVE9UqfM:

They did not show the process of making, just the result which looked pretty cool!
 
No prison can hold Chairface Chippendale. And on a totally different topic ... my stuff:
The stocking stuffer game for all your Permaculture companions
http://www.FoodForestCardGame.com
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