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in Problem solving
Hi everyone !
My first query
I moved into a cottage in December, and am lucky enough to have inherited a very large garden, with ground behind also. I cut the grass about once a week at the moment, though this will probably increase to twice a week with the coming season. My query is that with the massive amount of grass clippings I'm taking from the area behind my cottage, it is proving too much to put in the brown bin which only gets collected every 2 weeks, and too much to be taking to the tip every week. I have so far been dumping the clippings at the base of an established Azalea (15ft x 15ft).
Will this damage the Azalea, or feed the roots. Should I stop dumping the clippings there ? Should I moderate the amount I put there ?
Any help is appreciated, as don't want to kill this fabulous Azalea which is bright pink in colour.
Might not be the best idea to keep piling grass clippings on top of grass clippings -not only to they heat up to quite a high temperature but also turn into a slimy mess
Far better, in my opinion,is to invest in a compost bin where you can mix other materials and let it rot down for spreading throughout the garden.
As for feeding the roots I wouldn't like to say that it has much or any benefit
Others may have differing opinions of course
Thanks for the info, I think I'll pull the clippings away from the Azalea tonight . It's just where to put all the clippings!! Cutting the grass front and back, easily fills around 3 wheelie-bins a week, so have been putting the clippings from the back at the Azalea, and the clippings from the main garden spread out in one corner, over an area 30ft x 10ft, though looking on the internet for info after my posting, now think I will have to turn this over once a week so it too doesn't get too hot and turn to stinky slime, as it's already a foot deep . Maybe I'll have to bite the bullet and take a half dozen trips to the tip to clear it once in a while, good ole Volvo estate ....... !
Definitely find a space for a couple of large compost bins. Fill them alternately with soft green stuff (grass clippings) and 'brown' stuff - shredded/chipped prunings and woody material which you will mostly have in the winter, so may need to store this somewhere. I also shred all that junk mail to mix in with the grass clippings. I get about half a tonne of compost each year. Hard work, but is great for improving and feeding the soil.
We have made a large square compost container from posts and old tarpaulin and a three sided version next to it. They are down the bottom of the garden with all the other stored building material which "might come in handy one day" so can't really be seen from the house.
The grass clippings go into the three sided version as hubs can back the sit-on mower into it. I put the grass clippings in a layer on the compost heap as and when there's enough veggie matter in there. I save every scrap of paper I don't want and shred it. Cardboard - as in egg boxes - is dampened and put in the compost too. I get cow manure from a local farmer and put a couple of wheelbarrow loads in the compost too before spreading on the veggie plot. At the end of the year I cover the compost for the winter and in the spring have masses of compost. The top layer I set aside and mix it with fallen leaves to make the base for the next lot. I don't turn it - ever - which goes against what everyone else says to do.
As you have such a large garden I'm sure you could find space to do something similar. You don't have to spend a lot of money buying fancy plastic compost bins which really don't hold much IMO.
Once you get composting you'll be surprised at how much satisfaction it gives you. You'll be saving every little scrap of greenery - but not weeds in seed or perrenial weed roots!!
Now the rude bit..... Occassionally, throughout the year, hubs and I take a bucket to bed and in the morning tip the liquid contained therein onto the compost heap. No need for fancy chemicals. It's easier for men than for women methinks.
I understand being overwhelmed by grass clippings. We have three wooden compost bins. At any one time, one has last year's compost for current use. The other two have a mix of grass clippings and some 'brown' material. If you don't have anything suitable from the garden then scrunched newspaper or ripped-up cardboard boxes work. The grass clippings lose volume quickly, so a bin that is full one week will have space for more the next.
Robot and Laura -- Do you breed huge quantities of slugs in your compost heaps, which I have been led to believe are beneficial in the rotting down process? If not, how do you manage to avoid doing so?! They are the bane of my life at present, and I am thinking seriously of not using my compost on my veggie plots because the slugs then have a field day. Another question: Do you adjust the pH by, say, adding lime? or do you add an accelerator such as Garrota? If you don't turn the heap, Robot, do you have to shred every scrap of woody material before you add it? Oh, and I agree with the night-time exercise; bit of a fiddle, but saves wasting water flushing the loo as well!
Good morning Jimeva,
I'm happy to say that I don't seem to have a slug problem in the compost. I do, however, seem to get an awful lot of those horrible white grubs (chafers I think) probably because when we came here 10 years ago our garden was just a field with a few trees. Nothing for slugs to live on but plenty for the chafers. Also, now I have a full garden, I have a resident colony of birds and I think they help a lot by keeping down the slugs, snails and other crawlies. I do go around most days at dawn and dusk to catch any little munchers, but they always seem to make a beeline for my hosta bed and I've yet to get a non-holy hosta - but in time......
I'm guessing our soil is naturally slightly acid as seen by the number of conifer woods around but we always lime the veggie plot each year. I've never done a pH test but I'm guessing we are probably about neutral now what with manure and compost added over the years as most things thrive but I have to work in some peat or pine chippings around the rhodies, azaleas, pieris and blueberries from time to time. Our main problem is that our soil is extremely fine and during summer it forms a hard crust which doesn't allow the rain to penetrate. I'm constantly having to rake over the soil to break up the crust, but a few more years of compost and poo should sort that out.
I don't put a lot of woody material on the compost heap. I use a lot of prunings for stakes for dahlias etc and a lot on the veggie plot to support haricot vert, peppers etc and to lay over newly sown rows to keep the birds off. Holly trimmings are a wonderful deterrent for hungry pigeons and magpies. Any other woody stuff is usually burnt and I put the ashes on.
As I said before, everything except plastic goes on my compost. Leftover cooked food goes in the dog so I don't put that on. I even put my hoover contents on there as it's mostly dog hair anyway.
I don't use an accelerator - just the odd night fluid - and I don't cover it until winter. It's now as I like it. I've tried the turning and the accelerators but apart from an aching back I didn't get any better results. I never put weeds on which are in flower or seeding nor perrenial weed roots. They go in a sack and to the tip (we don't have recycling collections here) or on the bonfire if we have one. I make insect repellent from rhubarb leaves and liquid feed from nettles. Crikey!! I'm a nutcase Mind you, I'm no domestic goddess so my energy has to go somewhere...
I think that answers your questions - glad to help but don't know how to solve your slug problem unless you use chemical pellets. So long as the birds don't get into your compost then they should be safe enough. Sometimes needs must.
Right, my garden is calling me ......
Hello, Jimeva. No - I don't get slugs. My compost bins are under big trees, so they don't get too wet - maybe that's the reason - and I'm on the drier east side of the country.
I don't use an accelerator or anything, but do turn the heaps about three times a year. I don't shred woody clippings - I have so much other stuff that I don't bother. We have bonfires a couple of times a year - not ideal, I know, but there's a limit to what I can manage. I haven't tried the night fluid option - three males in the house though, so maybe I should.