yard waste problem
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oldhomeowner



Joined: 04 Oct 2006
Posts: 55
Location: albany NY

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 6:56 pm    Post subject: yard waste problem Reply with quote

Throughout the northeast growing season alot of tree and shrub trim accumulates; branches large and small. The accepted method of removal is to bag it in large paper bags and leave it for the city to pickup. This is time consuming, trying to chop all the branches small enough.
Meanwhile, more stuff is growing. I've started piling it all up in the corner of the yard and calling it a compost pile. I have no truck to haul it off with.
Is there any way to speed up the process of decay?
I'm thinking in a few years the house will be buried in this stuff.
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 3005
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We compost all of our grass, leaves and brush. I also put in ashes from the fire place and kitty litter. It all goes down to a very small volume of "soil" that we put out on the garden and that I use for filling in low spots and banking along the foundation for better drainage.

The sticks & brush I clip down to one foot long and we use it for kindling in the fireplace.

It take time to do it, but I expect it's not more time than bagging and hauling out front, or taking it to the dump, plus there is no expense for the leaf bags nor gasoline.

And what's with expensive leaf bags anyway? When I was a kid in the 1950s we just raked all the leaves out to the front curb and my dad burned it right there in the gutter. When I got my own place here in Portland in the 1990s everyone raked their leaves out to the curb and the city came by with a giant vacuum truck and sucked it all up, quick and slick! Now everyone spends 20 or 30 dollars on bags every year? GIVE ME A BREAK. The DISPOSABLE SOCIETY HAS GONE TOO FAR.

And while I'm at it:

Why is EVERYTHING now double and sometimes triple wrapped in plastic? I don't think any of us died from eating raisins than came in a plain cardboard box. Now they come in a plastic bag inside the cardboard box, and the cardboard box is wrapped on the outside with more plastic. I think the American Consuming Public has been hoodwinked by the pirates that operate the petro-chemical industry. Just to get our food we have to buy and excessive amounts of their plastic, and then pay again just to dispose of the miserable stuff.

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John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 786
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ooh, i forgot what it's like to live in the city or suburbs and have to have your organic matter removed by big trucks.....i burn my brush and stash the leaves in the woods...

john--you don't recall the big 'tainted tylenol' scare of the late 70's??? i believe that, very unfortunately, a woman died after taking a tylenol that had come from a bottle that had been tampered with....because we americans appreciate a quick fix, everything became 'safety packaged' with strips of plastic wrap and foil covered...many product containers come in paper and plastic combos--like the quaker oats container...the plastic is molded around the paper container...each component can be recylced but i wonder how many people take the time to separate the components rather than just throw the whole thing in the trash?

silk brand soy milk costs about $4.19 a half gallon (!!) if you purchase two half gallons, it cost about $6.49...the problem is the two half gallons are sold in a cardboard container--what a waste especially for an organic soy product--you would think the manufacturer would be more enviromentally aware...i wrote to the company about thier waste and they responded with lame reasoning 'we do our best to package our products with the enviroment in mind...''ha!

stepping off the soap box....
.....jade
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jomercer



Joined: 30 Aug 2006
Posts: 28
Location: MARYLAND

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the biggest reasons poeple have "too much yard waste" is that they fertilize the heck out of everything. Talk about the petrochemical barons laughing all the way to the bank!

*Mow and leave the clippings on the grass (it will recycle virtually all the P and K the grass took up from the soil); reduce N application to only 1 lb. actual N per 1,000 sq. ft.

*don't water the lawn in the summer

*mulch your leaves with the mower and dress the shrub and flower beds with them and your finished compost; mulch trees at least out to the dripline

*organize you composting efforts into 3 (if possible, but 2 anyway) piles at least 3'x3'x3' but no bigger than 4x4x4); you'll have a "building" pile, a "cooking" pile, and a "using" pile; chop up the smaller wood with a rented electric machine and layer the chips with leaves, kitchen veggie scraps, garden debris (sprinkling each layer with water) as a "building" pile; when it has reached size, it becomes a "cooking" pile (don't add new stuff to it, but let it sit for a year, after which it will be the "using pile"). So in about 3 years you will be able to cycle through three piles; as time goes on you'll know how much material you'll generate and work out a system to redistribute it through the yard; if you're doing it right, you should be able to have enough compost for yourself, and give away some.

* if you don't have a wood-burning fireplace/stove, bundle up the larger ticks and put them out on the curb with a"Free Kindling" sign
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 3005
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
silk brand soy milk costs about $4.19 a half gallon (!!) if you purchase two half gallons, it cost about $6.49..


and if they simple made a one-gallon container it would probably cost $5.50. So why don't they? Because the packaging industry has them and you hoodwinked into buying more packaging than you actually need.

This seems a little off topic, but it would be possible for many of these products to come in containers that would compost out in the back yard, like the round Quaker Oats box USED TO BE, now they've hoodwinked me into buying that **** plastic lid. Well, I voted against their underhanded tactics with my dollars and now buy my rolled oats in bulk (shipped in paper bags) at my local health food store (which is now about to be put out of business by the BIG BOX health food store, which only sells rolled oats in plastic bags---AARRRRRGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!! The petro-chemical industry is really cranking it up, eliminating all alternatives. The pirates are stealing the money right out of our pockets.

This may seem a little off topic, but it's good to use these household examples to understand what is happening in the building products industry--EXACTLY THE SAME THING. Down at Home Despot the wooden screen doors are individually wrapped in plastic. Since when do screen doors NEED to be wrapped in plastic? Probably since they have been made in China.

I make my own screen doors out of wood grown and milled right here in my own state of Maine. (and, just to keep this on topic) I make the little corner brackets out of sticks from the brush pile, and I run the sawdust through the compost pile.) Maybe my friends the Hippies back in the 1960s had it right--back to the land. Even on my little lot here in urban Portland, I'm harvesting cottonwood trees I planted 8 years ago that are 7" in diameter and 37' tall--good enough for lawn furniture. Just for fun I even made a 2x4 stud out of one that I needed to repair the barn.

Excessive consumerism and the disposable economy have gotten so out of hand that I'm staying up on the soap box,

John

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John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought


Last edited by johnleeke on Sat Jul 07, 2007 9:50 am; edited 2 times in total
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 3005
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jo:

I like your practical tips.

I manage my compost in one 15-20' long 4' wide pile, leaves and grass at one end, finished usable compose at the other end. Every other year I used the garden spade to turn the material over and move it down about three feet--sort of slow motion churning conveyor belt.

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John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
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