• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Trouble finding mulch material when starting a new garden  RSS feed

 
Anita Karlson
Posts: 7
Location: Oslo
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi all

Does anyone have any good tips for (free) mulch when starting out a new garden. I find it a bit difficult to get enough material to mulch with when I am on a low budget. Here is the state in my garden:
Cold Climate Garden. I have gotten some grass clippings now, but don't want to pile that on thickly to aviod creating a "semented" layer. So I'm just mixing up what I can get my hands on and some spots of soil are still bare
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1405
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
104
forest garden urban
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think most of my techniques wouldn't apply where you are, but maybe you can use them to find a workable strategy.

I stalk tree trimming services. Around here the local landscapers typically chip all tree trimmings and then take them to the dump (some of the more enlightened ones take part in composting/mulch services) When I see a crew working anywhere near my home, I stop and ask them if they'd like a free place to dump those chips. The catch here is that I must have an area where I can receive a full dump truck load.

Another option that is popular in the States is to ask local coffee houses if they can save their used coffee grounds. Starbucks routinely saves theirs for just this purpose. As I understand it (my mulching needs being covered with dump truck loads of chips) it is easier to work this out with smaller companies if you provide a convenient container for these grounds.
 
Shawn Harper
Posts: 360
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
7
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you are in an area that you are gardening for more than a year I suggest growing your own. Pick and annual grain and legume and take a season to grow it out and mulch. After that about 30% of your area should work out for growing biomass. Plus the biomass area can double as an insectary refuge and even get some crops out of it.
 
Mike Cantrell
Posts: 552
Location: Mid-Michigan
28
bee books duck food preservation forest garden hunting solar trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you knock on a few doors, people will pay you to mow and trim and take away the organic material.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2302
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
183
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hau Anita,

One of the easiest ways to get enough compostable materials (raw compost is also mulch) is to notify your neighbors, any yard men you happen upon, and tree service folks.
Normally, all of these people will have materials they need to get rid of and most welcome someone to do that chore for them, it keeps organics out of a land fill for your neighbors.
The yard men and tree service folks usually have to pay to dump the organics they have created, most love the opportunity to save that money.

If you have any farms nearby you might be able to afford some bales of either straw or hay, I use straw because it is cheaper, I know my source doesn't use any sprays and it is fairly close to my farm.

Grocery stores might be persuaded to give you the produce they are going to throw out from spoilage or un-saleable condition, this stuff you can compost in thin layers or you might set up a vermicompost bin or bins so you get good castings.

Hope these ideas work for you. Grass clippings do well if you mix in any other materials, even paper and cardboard will decompose in a compost heap, and do so nicely.
I've even used old sheets, worn out clothing, anything that will rot is useable in a compost heap. just shred or rip or cut up these materials so they will rot faster and more completely.

Redhawk
 
Carl Nutter
Posts: 6
Location: Sherwood, United States
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Anita,

One of the easiest ways to get enough compostable materials (raw compost is also mulch) is to notify your neighbors, any yard men you happen upon, and tree service folks.
Normally, all of these people will have materials they need to get rid of and most welcome someone to do that chore for them, it keeps organics out of a land fill for your neighbors.
The yard men and tree service folks usually have to pay to dump the organics they have created, most love the opportunity to save that money.

If you have any farms nearby you might be able to afford some bales of either straw or hay, I use straw because it is cheaper, I know my source doesn't use any sprays and it is fairly close to my farm.

Grocery stores might be persuaded to give you the produce they are going to throw out from spoilage or un-saleable condition, this stuff you can compost in thin layers or you might set up a vermicompost bin or bins so you get good castings.

Hope these ideas work for you. Grass clippings do well if you mix in any other materials, even paper and cardboard will decompose in a compost heap, and do so nicely.
I've even used old sheets, worn out clothing, anything that will rot is useable in a compost heap. just shred or rip or cut up these materials so they will rot faster and more completely.

Redhawk


RedHawk,

What percentage of grass clippings and paper/cardboard do you recommend? Also, when you use straw or hay, how do you go about getting rid of all the weed/ grass seeds. Is there an easy method of getting rid of the seeds in the hay? Composting works, but it can take a while. Any thing that be a good source, most cities have mulch centers, where they grind up leaves, limbs and trees. You will get less grass seeds and most of the time it is free for the hauling!
Have a good day! May all your plants be healthy and happy!
Nut501
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2302
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
183
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The ratio I use is 70% browns and 30% greens. However, I usually layer a compost heap starting at the bottom with browns, then a layer of greens followed by browns and so on.

My heaps are usually covered with old carpet to hold in the heat and keep the humidity in, excess water drains out the bottom into the soil.

I don't turn a heap unless it has gone anaerobic, but I will make additional layers until I have a heap about 2 meters tall. At that height it is time to start a new heap,
Most of my heaps are ready in 6 months, I do have a tumbler, made of wood that will turn out finished compost in around 15 days.

Currently I am in the process of composting 4 baby hogs that didn't make it because of the current heat wave, they are in the middle of the heap, surrounded by 30 cm thick layer of fresh cut grass then a 20 cm layer of straw.
This is top and bottom of where the bodies lay. The heap is covered with carpet and right now (2 days in) the heating core is at 167 f. I expect it to stay there for about 5 days since no water is coming out as of this morning.

Our current ambient temp is hovering in the 97 f. range with the humidity, felt temps are 105 f. to 108 f. One of my older heaps (4 months old now) is nearing finished, the worms are having a great time in that heap.

The way I construct my heaps (layers) keeps anything like the baby hog bodies from smelling much if at all (their heap has no odors so far). I do have two or three more layers to put on this heap then it will not be touched again until it is ready for use.

As far as seeds from the wheat straw, they all die from the fairly high temps my heaps achieve.

We do have a compost center in the capitol city but they charge 20 dollars per Cu. Yd. and I would have to trailer it 40 miles home, they do not certify that the components are "Cide" free and I do know some of their materials have been sprayed with herbicides (Roundup being one and there are other nasty cides in their compost as well. (I got some free samples from the compost center, they tested positive for lead, mercury, glyphosate, phosgene, and I stopped testing there since those four compounds are on my Never, ever, list.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Down the street from me. There is a road widening project going on, and they are cutting down all the trees and vegetation and feeding them into the shredder. There are numerous piles 5 meters high, probably enough to mulch 3 or 4 hectares of garden.

As other posters have said, just look around for landscaping/tree clearing/line maintenance/brush removal projects, and tell them you have a place where they can dump their waste. They will appreciate it.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2302
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
183
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hau John, I have to say, I'm jealous, what I could do with all that shredder material. Unfortunately, I live to far away from where the tree trimmers work for them to want to drop off their refuse to my place.
 
Anita Karlson
Posts: 7
Location: Oslo
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for all the helpful tips! I will start to be on the lookout for these alternatives around my location
 
Miranda Converse
Posts: 243
7
bee chicken goat
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not sure if this was mentioned already but there are a lot of people with livestock that would be ecstatic to let you clean out their stalls. I've gotten a ton of mulch just from cleaning up the hay from my own messy goats. Plus, it already has fertilizer mixed in with it.

I haven't had any luck with finding tree services around here that are willing to give me any woodchips. There is a paper mill here and I suspect they sell the woodchips to them. We don't even have a county compost center.

It's been a pretty slow process for me to gather enough mulch to cover my garden. The one thing I have an endless supply of is cardboard. I've been laying down cardboard wherever I know I eventually want to mulch, just to keep the weeds down and hopefully get the soil to start softening. Whenever I do get some mulch I just add it on top. You can get cardboard at just about any retail store if you ask for it. My favorite is the Dollar General because they break it all down and put it outside. I always ask first but they never care.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2302
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
183
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hau Miranda, don't forget that you can also use cardboard for browns in your compost heaps, just cut it into strips or squares and it will rot rather nicely.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6155
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
193
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I dumped this big load of hedge clippings on my own land last week. When I work in the city, I will dump it in the yard of anyone who asks for it. It's that simple in most places. I've educated several customers on the benefits of hugelkultur.

There are two people in Victoria who heat their homes exclusively with firewood that I give away. It's cheaper for me to give it away than to mess with it for the small amount I might make from firewood.

I'm fond of pre rotted leaf mulch. The city gives it away to anyone who wants it. I hauled over half a ton to a friend's place two weeks ago.
.....
Larger tree companies tend to have a system in place for dealing with their cuttings. This often involves loads that are too large for the average gardener.

 Go to Craigslist or used everywhere or whatever other website has ads for Landscaping and Gardening. You will find many smaller operations that involve a guy with a pickup truck. Loads will be smaller and it will be much easier to determine what will be in that load, since you're not talking to a secretary who will talk to a manager who will talk to a truck driver. Sometimes materials will be sorted into different garbage cans.

 Hardwood hedge cuttings are superior to grass for most mulching. Evergreen hedge cuttings are not suitable for most things since it acidifies the soil.
20160621_144304.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20160621_144304.jpg]
20160621_141117.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20160621_141117.jpg]
20160613_183512.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20160613_183512.jpg]
 
Marco Banks
Posts: 498
Location: Los Angeles, CA
41
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I get all the wood chip mulch I can use simply by listening for the sound of chainsaws and wood chippers. I got a load last week -- beautiful stuff. But you've got to be prepared for 10 to 20 yards of it, depending upon the size of the truck. They always ask me, "Are you sure you want a full load?" Yes -- I'll take two. When I hear them chipping, I drive over to where they are at, ask to speak with the head guys, and tell them that I'll take their load of chips off their hands for free, saving them a trip to the dump. I always have a pad of paper handy: I draw them a map to my place and write my phone #. 3 out of 5 times, they say yes.

Pile it up DEEP, as it will break down fairly quickly -- within 6 months or so. If I've got an area that I want to let lay fallow for a season, I'll pile 2 feet of mulch on it. I'm not kidding -- I put 2 feet of wood chips down and let them compost for 6 months. When I'm ready to plant, I'll rake the mulch back (which has now reduced to 6 inches or less) and plant my no-till crop into the rich black soil underneath. Worms! You won't believe the worms you'll get with wood chip mulch.

If you are looking to grow biomass, particularly to feed a compost pile, then start a comfrey patch. There are a dozen great threads on this site about the wonders of Bocking 14 Russian comfrey. I'll add my hearty amen to those threads -- it's everything it's said to be: hearty, produces a butt load of bio mass, it mulches and composts easily, and it's high in nitrogen.

Every bit of carbon grown on my land gets put back into the system somewhere. Branches get piled up below fruit trees on the hillside, weeds and spent garden plants get chopped and dropped or put into the compost pile, food scraps, egg shells, drier lint, cardboard . . . anything made of carbon goes back into the garden somewhere.
 
Thom Foote
Posts: 35
Location: Colbert, WA
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mulch is all around us. Newspapers, compost, cardboard from furniture sellers, wood chips from landscape businesses, grass clippings (of course safe ones), wool, carpet, leaves, the list goes on but I hope you get the message. Make friends, build community and then put requests for their stuff to mulch with.
 
m louka
Posts: 9
Location: Vermont USDA zone 5a
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
things i'm using for mulch:
paper bags (sometimes my coop gets too many donated paper bags),
mail (plastic windows removed from envelopes),
cardboard boxes (a builder drops off long boxes for siding that are perfect width for between rows),
coffee chaff (i fill my Honda Fit with 8 large bags when i go an hour north to a coffee roaster),
burlap bags (same coffee roaster),
wood shavings (furniture makers),
weeds that quickly put on huge masses of carbon/nitrogen (i let dock, burdock, mullein and other weeds get huge if they're not in the way of foods - realizing that i do use some of these for food/medicinals, too - and then pull them before they go to seed),
hay (i have a hay field when the previous owner abandoned bales on the edge of the field so they're no longer filled with seed)
leaves (even though i'm in the country, the village folks bag their leaves and haul and drop them at my place. they take back the bags to reuse)
huge paper bags from bulk grains from the coop
wood chips (as above from grounds crews and power line cleanups)
raw wool because farmers can't get a decent price to be bothered to clean and sell it

all of these are good for the compost pile, but i've used them between beds and rows with great success.

---> but please don't use carpet any where near your food; petrochemicals and flame retardants make it toxic in our homes and more so out in the field in our food
 
David Gould
Posts: 23
Location: united kingdom south wales on a hillside
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
m louks wrote:things i'm using for mulch:
paper bags (sometimes my coop gets too many donated paper bags),
mail (plastic windows removed from envelopes),
cardboard boxes (a builder drops off long boxes for siding that are perfect width for between rows),
coffee chaff (i fill my Honda Fit with 8 large bags when i go an hour north to a coffee roaster),
burlap bags (same coffee roaster),
wood shavings (furniture makers),
weeds that quickly put on huge masses of carbon/nitrogen (i let dock, burdock, mullein and other weeds get huge if they're not in the way of foods - realizing that i do use some of these for food/medicinals, too - and then pull them before they go to seed),
hay (i have a hay field when the previous owner abandoned bales on the edge of the field so they're no longer filled with seed)
leaves (even though i'm in the country, the village folks bag their leaves and haul and drop them at my place. they take back the bags to reuse)
huge paper bags from bulk grains from the coop
wood chips (as above from grounds crews and power line cleanups)
raw wool because farmers can't get a decent price to be bothered to clean and sell it

all of these are good for the compost pile, but i've used them between beds and rows with great success.

---> but please don't use carpet any where near your food; petrochemicals and flame retardants make it toxic in our homes and more so out in the field in our food



If you use your computer and look up " The Berkley 18day hot composting method "   at Cornell university " not only will you find massive lists of things that you can use for making a compost based mulch  you will also find out how to make an amazing home made compost in 18 days if the weather is reasonably frost free .
I've been using this method for over 12 years  it is truly amazing , the lists reallly open you mind up to what you can /can't do or use.

Please be a little wary of getting cuttings & weeds from groundsmen /park keepers etc.. should they have been treated with a hormonal weed treatment in the LAST 18 MONTHS  ( Look up Grazon 90 )  It's effects can remain active in the ground for many months , several years in fact & also on hay or plants that have been cut inthe treated areas .

It will also pass through animals that have grazed on treated areas or been fed hay /fodder made from treated grasses etc .

The end result being that you'll have great difficulty in getting seeds to germinate or small plants to thrive anywhere that the tainted home made mulch is put.
So always when you make a batch of home made mulch /compost  mix a handful with a handful of something you know that has allowed seeds to germinate and try germinate a selection of you seeds in it . If they germinate it's safe  if they don't keep it sepaerate to the  main piles and turn it over every few weeks for 18 to 24 months longer then repeat the germination exercise.

I find that using a glass Pyrex bowl that has a lid is a mini portable hot house that is a great way of setting up the germination exercise and being able to observe the results easily . Germination times also tend to be around the minu=imum times .
I've said use a selection of seeds because some seeds are a lot more susceptible to the effects of a hormone week treatment than others.
 
Chris Sims
Posts: 7
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To get mulch, find a livestock farmer and offer to muck out the barn.  You may need to compost the materials before using them.  Many farmers have way more manure than they need for their own use.  Hilsen!
 
David Gould
Posts: 23
Location: united kingdom south wales on a hillside
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chris Sims wrote:To get mulch, find a livestock farmer and offer to muck out the barn.  You may need to compost the materials before using them.  Many farmers have way more manure than they need for their own use.  Hilsen!


May I suggest that you try and not use stable muck from horses if they have been given grass hay  as the seeds & weed seeds in the hay pass right through the horse and unless
you are using the Berkley 18 day composting method you are unlikely to kill the seeds .
Consequently you end up growing water and nutrient removing weeds far better than your intended crop .. that's why the weeds are so successful.  Alfallfa fed stock dung is OK .

Another thing , if you use too much animal dung & bedding based materials the end result is often to acidic & too high in nitrogen this does eventually affect the growing quality of your gardens . square foot gardens  tubs etc. same with bird poop based home made composts too much in one go is too much for the compost mix ..
Again try the germination tests mentioned earlier .

Rabbit dung / pellets are  absolutely fantastic , you can put them direct un composted  on your beds as they are almost Ph neutral so don't " burn " your crops . They also make a great liquid tea manure if you soak them in plenty of water for a week or so stirring the brew each day.  Just don't get any of this elixir on any crop you eat raw as it is E Coli problematic .

Uncooked fish guts , frames & skins put in the compost heap and covered with a layer of compost then netted down with small mesh chicken wire to stop animals digging  them out  is also beneficial to the final nutrient content of you composts . Should you also be able to run these through a liquidizer  and make a well diluted fish emulsion , you can use a rod or bar to poke a hole deep into the compost heap and pour the emulsion in via the hole you've just made .
 
rowan eisner
Posts: 18
Location: Brisbane, Australia
1
bike
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, I've had this problem. In a developing country you can't really get any of these things and everything's expensive, eg $5 for cardboard boxes. People guard their compost and compostables like precious possessions. Eg their compost houses have roofs and locked gates and electric fences. I think it shows the scarcity of these things if everyone is trying to get them. I've also found it difficult to mulch if you're living car-free as many solutions involve moving a lot of heavy material.
 
Gregory T. Russian
Posts: 48
Location: Mad City, Wisconsin
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Anita Karlson wrote:Hi all

Does anyone have any good tips for (free) mulch when starting out a new garden. I find it a bit difficult to get enough material to mulch with when I am on a low budget. Here is the state in my garden:
Cold Climate Garden. I have gotten some grass clippings now, but don't want to pile that on thickly to aviod creating a "semented" layer. So I'm just mixing up what I can get my hands on and some spots of soil are still bare


Hmm.
In our town wood mulch is free - just go and take as much as you want from the municipality site.
I use it every year.
I also took lots of free wood chips for people live on a farm (they had a big pile from the cut down trees and were happy i took at least some of it).
But I am in Wisconsin, USA.

Part of my veg. garden this year - a layer of cardboard boxes that I cut flat; a layer of wood chips on top.
Everything there grows in the holes I cut in cardboard.
Minimal watering.
NO watering for potatoes at all (just cardboard and mulch on top; I even hill the potatoes with just mulch).
 
K Putnam
Posts: 233
Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
20
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would see if any local riding stables use straw bedding.   Straw bedding is much more common in Europe than it is in the United States. In fact, we find that horses raised in Europe will often be sensitive to wood shavings for awhile until they acclimate because they were raised on straw.   While, for local reasons having to due with too-high levels of potassium, I would not use wood shavings and manure as compost, I would seriously consider straw with manure and urine if it is available.   The bedding will be changed daily, so I would see what is nearby! 
 
Gail Gardner
Posts: 78
Location: SE Oklahoma
duck forest garden hugelkultur
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Anita Karlson wrote:Hi all

Does anyone have any good tips for (free) mulch when starting out a new garden. I find it a bit difficult to get enough material to mulch with when I am on a low budget. Here is the state in my garden:
Cold Climate Garden. I have gotten some grass clippings now, but don't want to pile that on thickly to aviod creating a "semented" layer. So I'm just mixing up what I can get my hands on and some spots of soil are still bare


The best way has already been mentioned: get tree chipping services to deliver them. Some counties sell or provide a certain number of pickup truck loads of either mulching or finished compost per month. And my friend used to drive around on leave pickup days and throw bags of leaves into her pickup and drop them off for me. We also volunteered to rake and bag leaves if the people with the trees would let us have them.
 
Chris Southall
Posts: 3
Location: Essex UK
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have a bin by the gate for our neighbors to put their grass cuttings in, we get more mulch and compost material than we can cope with! We have told them no cuttings from lawns that have been sprayed or going to seed grass.  Works well for us.
 
Dawna Janda
Posts: 13
Location: Tampa area, Florida - zone 9a
cat dog trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As previously mentioned in this topic, tree services/arborists are great resource.  My name is listed for a couple of services and I get chips all the time.  Another thing that I have access to is the county landfill.  When the tree trimmers don't have places to take their chips, they take them to the landfill where they are placed in an area (separate from other landscape trimmings that are collected each week that may contain chemicals).  These chips are free to anyone who lives in the county and for a fee, they will use their front loader to place the chips in your truck or trailer.  It may be worth contacting someone with the county or landfill to see if this is an option as it's not usually advertised.
 
S. G. Botsford
Posts: 78
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a few more ideas:

A:  Here there is a company that chips up lumber scraps from truss companies and mobile home companies.  Cost is $400 for a 40 cubic meter truck (about 4 dump truck loads)   It's clean.

B:  In our area two companies do all of the powerline tree trimming -- Asplundh and Davey.  They love people to ask them for a load of chips.  Summer loads have enough leaf matter that the pile will heat up.  Tarp it to contain the heat and speed the composting.

C:  In fall drive the back alleys with your trailer and snitch bags of leaves.    It's worth knocking and asking, and also ask what chemicals they have used on their lawn, and what weeds they have had problems with.  Hot composting this material is a good idea.

D:  Call paper shredding services.  If they are currently having to pay for disposal they will be glad to give you all the shredded paper you want. If they sell their shreds to a paper recycling company you may have to pay what they get + a bit.

E:  Check with yardwork companies.  Most clients want the clippings taken away, not left.  You will get some chemical residues this way.  Talk to the company and find out what they use.

F:  What does your city do with the 'waste' stream from their parks department?
 
Linda Secker
Posts: 75
Location: Lancaster, UK
1
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All the above ideas are great, and will produce bulk stuff that you need for thick mulching.

Also though, ask your neighbours and friends to donate their kitchen waste and small animal waste (rabbits, hamsters etc) and get those compost heaps going! When I worked in an office, I collected all the kitchen waste from the four floors as well.

oh - and dog clipping parlours or hairdressers for hair

 
Marco Banks
Posts: 498
Location: Los Angeles, CA
41
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
S. G. Botsford wrote:
Summer loads have enough leaf matter that the pile will heat up.  Tarp it to contain the heat and speed the composting.


One note about this: when a load of fresh wood chips and tree "greens" is dumped on your driveway --- yes, the pile will start heating up.  But I've found that if you don't move the chips in a couple of days, they start to mold and that's not good.  I don't mind moldy chips if they are laying out on the ground under the fruit trees.  Mold is a kind of fungus, and that's all good in the garden.  But when you've got to move them (in my case, by hand, with a pitch fork and wheelbarrow), you breath a lot of those mold spores.  Every time you scoop into a deep part of the pile, a little cloud of steam rises.  If it's pine or eucalyptus, it smells so good --- but it's dangerous.

It didn't used to bother me much, but now it does.  My wife has also become increasingly sensitive to breathing that steaming cloud of mold spores.  We aren't fussy people or hyper sensitive to stuff like this, so if it effects us, it is something -- I'm not just making this up.

So decomposing and self-heating wood chips are great, but you don't want to be breathing that steam that comes off the pile after about 3 or 4 days.  You'll know it when you have: you'll start sneezing and feel it in your respiratory system for a couple of days. 
 
Linda Secker
Posts: 75
Location: Lancaster, UK
1
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Marco you are absolutely right - the 'steam' actually contains millions of mould spores. I gave myself a chest infection with the first batch I got that did this..... I do have asthma so am perhaps more sensitive than others, but yes, it is a thing.... Anyhow, the second batch that steamed, I worked on it entirely upwind and was more or less ok with it,
 
Marco Banks
Posts: 498
Location: Los Angeles, CA
41
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Linda Secker wrote:Marco you are absolutely right - the 'steam' actually contains millions of mould spores. I gave myself a chest infection with the first batch I got that did this..... I do have asthma so am perhaps more sensitive than others, but yes, it is a thing.... Anyhow, the second batch that steamed, I worked on it entirely upwind and was more or less ok with it,


I do the same thing --- stand up-wind and try not to stick my head down into that little cloud of steam that comes out of the pile when you dig into a new section.  I don't want to wear a resporator to move a pile of chips -- that would be a pain in the arse.  So I just try to move the pile as quickly as I can when it's delivered.  Once the chips are moved and put down, it isn't a problem at all.
 
But, to whomever may be reading this thread and may be waffling on whether to use chips or not—DO.  Wood chips are garden gold.  They do about 50 amazing things to your soil, all good, and are the building blocks of amazing, rich, black, crumbly, fungal-filled, worm-filled, nutrient-filled, micro-organism filled soil.  They suppress weeds, hold moisture, feed soil life, provide amazing worm habitat, and add so much carbon to the soil food web.  They DON'T tie up N in the soil (unless you till them under).  Don't let a few mold spores frighten you from using them.  Just move the chips before they start to heat-up.
 
steve bossie
Posts: 284
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
3
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i use fresh hardwood coarse sawdust from a firewood business down the road. its made from 1 yr. seasoned sugar/red maple , yellow/white birch and beech. its cut fresh everyday so there is no mold or mildew in it yet. they have to dump in a landfill so i just ask them for a dump truck load every spring to put around all my berry bushes  and trees. i grow wine cap mushrooms under everything i put the sawdust around so i get 2 crops! just need to add fresh sawdust every year to keep them going and the mycelium breaks it down into beautiful black compost that is full of worms! i really love this stuff!
 
Anita Karlson
Posts: 7
Location: Oslo
1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have now mulched! A couple of weeks back a landscaping business started taking down some trees just 500 meters from where I live and chopped them up. So I got on the phone to the boss of the company and asked if I could have some of the wood chips they were making. He said I could take the whole pile if I wanted. Sooo ... out with the wheelbarrow I went. Here is a short video of the result, if someone wants to see
 
Linda Secker
Posts: 75
Location: Lancaster, UK
1
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yay - Go Anita! xxx
 
Happiness is not a goal ... it's a by-product of a life well lived - Eleanor Roosevelt. Tiny ad:
Thread Boost feature
https://permies.com/wiki/61482/Thread-Boost-feature
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!