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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old November 6, 2006   #1
dcarch
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Default Composting: make no bones about it?

Tomstrees posted a thread about using a lawn mower to shred leaves for compost.

Here is what I do:

I bought a common garden shredder ($175.00) which can shred leaves and small branches. It does a good job of shredding leaf and branches, but not much more.

I was able to find some tungsten carbide blades which were from an electric wood planer, which I machined to replace the carbon steel blades that came with the shredder.

As you may know, tungsten carbide is extremely tough and the blades can hold a keen edge for a long time.

Now I not only can shred leaves and branches, I can actually pulverize large bones, clamshells and any hard stuff. We eat a lot of sparerib, ox tail and corn-on-the-cob, the leftovers all go in the soil towards making better tomatoes and veggies.

dcarch



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Old November 6, 2006   #2
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Tungsten carbide blades? What the bloody 'ell's tungsten carbide blades?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9x98Imr6ao
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Old November 6, 2006   #3
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Tungsten ? Pretty sure its one of the toughest metals on earth ...
I also know they're making wedding bands out of it these days ... good for gardeners ~ :wink:

Nice equipment ... but Dcarch ,,,
You could've posted this in MY thread ???!!

~ Tom
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Old November 6, 2006   #4
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I, too have a chipper shredder for preparing compost. My blades are the soft steel style, but it does the job. The only thing, I have always understood that you need to stay away from putting animal parts into compost. I'm not completely sure why except it may have disease causing properties or attract varmints or something. Maybe if the compost cooks hot enough you don't need to worry. Compost does help good tomatoes grow gooder.
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Old November 6, 2006   #5
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DC, man, you are dangerous with that repurposing stuff to fit your needs. I would bet the manufacturer would choke with mods. you made. Still, I wouldn't mind doing that myself.

As for putting animals bits and pieces in, it is exactly that the pathogens in critter decay can be a problem if not properly done. I have heard of, I believe it is Minnesota, using road kill in their soil amendment program. But, they have special bins and monitors to make sure the heat is correctly done.
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Old November 6, 2006   #6
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Several things:

1. As with any machine tools, always wear eye protection.

2. The shredder comes with double safety cut-off switch. It would not work if the blades are exposed. Still I am superstitious. I unplug the shredder before I have to open and clean it.

3. I do not use raw bones and meat. I only use cooked bones. There are rats, dogs, cats, possums, racoons in the area, I never have any problem in the few years I have been doing this. Maybe the bones are so finely chopped and tilled into the soil.

I have not had a soil test done, but I think I do not need to add phosphorous.

dcarch
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Old November 7, 2006   #7
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DC,

Did you remove the flapper on the top and replace it with the bucket ? I have the same type of shredder and it's a real slow process feeding handfulls thru the thing.
I'd prefer to modify mine to be able to shovel them in.

Rob
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Old November 7, 2006   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylenol
DC,

Did you remove the flapper on the top and replace it with the bucket ? I have the same type of shredder and it's a real slow process feeding handfulls thru the thing.
I'd prefer to modify mine to be able to shovel them in.

Rob
Yes I did. Really easy to do. Find some plastic bucket ( I am not sure how many gallon size; five?) and cut the bottom off. Then make some slits at the bottom rim so that it will fit the diameter of the shredder’s barrel. You can secure the bucket to the shredder by using a couple of stainless steel adjustable straps (Home Depot plumbing section)

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Old November 7, 2006   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwnorth
Tungsten carbide blades? What the bloody 'ell's tungsten carbide blades?--------------

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Old March 27, 2007   #10
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I am starting to work my soil (Z6/7) to get ready for the transplanting.

I have collected a whole winter's worth of bones and shells; Spare ribs, ox tail bones, crab/lobster shells, oyster/clam shells, chicken bones ------------------.

Using the modified shredder, I was able to pulverize everything and tilled eveything deep into the soil.

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Old March 27, 2007   #11
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Dcarch:

Your comments remind me of that crazy movie..Fargo and the scene with the chipper.
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Old March 27, 2007   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adenn1 View Post
Dcarch:

Your comments remind me of that crazy movie..Fargo and the scene with the chipper.
Oh yes. There are other uses!

dcarch
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Old March 27, 2007   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwnorth View Post
Tungsten carbide blades? What the bloody 'ell's tungsten carbide blades?


Oh man! Now THAT is funny! I just watched that one the other day, too!

...You're all bloody fancy talk since you left London.
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Old March 29, 2007   #14
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When I collect seaweed from my beach, a lot of times, there are mussel shells, barnacles, crab shells, and other debris mixed in ... I throw it all into my compost pile ... Of course my compost bin has a lid, but I've seen shells & fish bones in my garden that are SLOWLY breaking down ...

I've heard from many friends, that crushed bones in too high of amounts can do more harm than good ... a little goes a long way I was told ~

Tom
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Old April 5, 2007   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomstrees View Post
When I collect seaweed from my beach, a lot of times, there are mussel shells, barnacles, crab shells, and other debris mixed in ... I throw it all into my compost pile ... Of course my compost bin has a lid, but I've seen shells & fish bones in my garden that are SLOWLY breaking down ...

I've heard from many friends, that crushed bones in too high of amounts can do more harm than good ... a little goes a long way I was told ~

Tom
Tom,

I just heard today, in the composting specialist class I'm taking, that kelp/seaweed is actually better off being buried in your beds than composted. It does more good that way. This is what the fellow, who taught part of the class, said after someone asked about composting seaweed.

Hope it helps.

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