Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Green waste recycling in a suburban backyard

One of the open gardens we went to recently advertised that they recycled all green waste onsite. I think Howard said something like: "So what!" The point is: we have been doing this for years.

Its not really that hard. It does take a little space but I think everyone with a yard could do it. It would be much trickier for apartment dwellers but if the body corporate got together they could do it too. Whether tree prunings, vegetable scraps, chicken coop scrapings or paper we recycle it all back into the garden. Maybe my system will give you a few ideas that you can try for yourself. My advice, pick one new thing, try it until it works for you and then add another. Overwhelming yourself by doing everything at once can lead to giving up.

When we prune trees, hedges or anything woody we chop up the leftovers and mulch as much as we can. For this we have a beast of a petrol mulcher. This was the pile we had from the waratah we had to prune heavily.

The mulch turns out really fine. We spread it under the waratah and a tree fern to make a nice new garden bed.
The thicker, woodier parts we chop up and dry for future firewood. The ash from the fire eventually ends up in the compost.

Food scraps have a few options depending on what they are: they can go to the worm farm, chickens or straight to the compost bin. Egg shells either end up ground up for the chooks or put on plants to fertilise them and keep slugs away.

Paper such as bills or thin cardboard gets shredded and either put into the chickens' nesting box or into the fire if we need kindling. I also bring shredded paper home from work, as well as old newspapers for mulching the garden. We have two plastic compost bins. Just keep layering and stirring.  See my previous post on composting here.

Chicken droppings go into the compost too.  The compost and worm castings go into the garden to produce vegies for the kitchen and chickens.

Round and round it goes.  But none of it goes into the garbage bin or leaves our yard. Sound doable? This isn't a complex system but I'm a bit proud that it works.

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