The annual chip completed.

Chipping down several tonnes of garden waste

There is a great sigh of relief this time of year when we finally complete the chipping up of the compost.

For five years we have been storing and then chipping our garden waste instead of burning it. This seemed kinder to the environment but I have no proof, calculations or evidence this is true.

However there was an economic case, especially if we took the long view because we are able to reuse the green waste and cut down the amount of compost, top soil and fertilizer we buy. We have seen the beds looking more ‘voluptuous’ (if you are allowed to use such a word to describe a pile of mud), easier to work and with fewer weeds.

Significant factors to consider when chipping include:

  • Getting a decent chipper. If you don’t raise a sweat feeding your chipper (and I don’t mean unblocking it) then get a different one. We need two or three fit people to keep the Bandit 65XP fully busy.
  • Sort your waste. Chippers don’t like soil. They can take green material but only if woody material is going through with it. So if you choose to pile your garden cuttings and pruning for a later chipping session then separate out the waste so you can blend it appropriately through the machine making the use of your time quick and efficient.
  • Turn regularly or two year cycle. If you can turn your chippings regularly and keep them damp a finely chipped large pile of several tonnes will compost suitably in a year. If you can’t turn regularly then it will take longer and it is worth trying a two year cycle for which obviously you will need twice the space.

This year we undertook a heavy cutting back of the laurels to encourage some thicker growth. This created a lot of extra waste which we decided to chip straight into a trailer to go back on the ground under the laurels. This relieved us of having to find more space for composting but will also prevent unwanted growth among the laurels while they thicken up again.

It is difficult to quantify exactly how much we chipped this year but we had the machine running for two and half days and put in excess of 45 man hours behind it. It’s a good feeling when its done!

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