Shredder for green materials

qbush(6, NE MA)August 8, 2014

We have a chipper that works well on dried, brown materials, but bogs down on anything green: weeds, clippings, spent plant material...

Can anyone recommend a shredder that will help me chop up these items (clary sage, carrot tops, broccoli, beet tops, grass, pigweed, rag weed, carpet weed...) so that my worms will go through them faster? Our chipper is gas powered, but really noisy, heavy and sometimes difficult to start. It is always a PAIN to disassemble and clean out.

THANKS!

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lazy_gardens

I feel your pain ... and the answer is "no". You could let them dry out, but that takes space and time.

A machete and a chopping block?
A sugar cane mill to at least crush the stems?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 12:28PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

When you say you want your worms to go through them faster do you mean you have worm bin and are vermicomposting? Or are they going on an ordinary compost heap? Or are they just being trench composted in the garden? I ask because if they are just for composting rather than vermicomposting I'm pretty sure nothing on your list really needs shredding at all. They're all pretty soft items which will rot down quite rapidly on their own. Beet tops, for example, have such a high water content they are a mucilaginous mess within a couple of days with no help at all. If you're vermicomposting ignore the above.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 12:38PM
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toxcrusadr

*mucilaginous

Great use of an underutilized word. :-]

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 12:39PM
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klem1

I can't say I ever heared the word and gave it no farthur thought until Tox repeated it. Thanks for expanding my vocabulary. Depending of their level of refinment,calling one "a mucilaginous creature" might be more appropriate than slime ball.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 3:20PM
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sylviatexas1

If it sounds like fun & your significant other will stand for it, you can puree them in a blender.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 6:17PM
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qbush(6, NE MA)

Floral : I am building raised beds by means of lasagna composting, no carpet, no cardboard just vegetable matter and horse manure. I am trying to avoid digging the soil to prevent the spread of poison ivy roots, and the resulting cases of poison ivy I keep getting. I had planned on using these beds to raise cut flowers, but my overrun cabbage seedlings are really happy there just now, so next year the newest bed may host winter squash.

Interestingly enough I threw beet tops on this bed just today. So I will watch them with interest to see the mucilaginous mess, and yep that's a great term!

Lazy: A machete? Seriously doesn't seem lazy to me. My clary sage are about 4 feet by the time I get them cut down, but drying them did work. I have time and space, as this all goes on at back of my vegetable garden

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 7:58PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Green material, just as any wet material, simply does not go through a shredder well. I've not found it necessary to shred greens, even though most material is digested faster if offered to the bacteria in closer to bite size pieces.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 6:28AM
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lazy_gardens

If you are building raised beds ... just dump them in layers and cover them with manure. They WILL decompose.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:21PM
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toxcrusadr

"If it sounds like fun & your significant other will stand for it, you can puree them in a blender."

This is either a recipe for the violent death of a loved one, or a simple case of a poorly placed pronoun. :-o :-D

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 5:57PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I think I might defenestrate my mucilaginous mess in the fridge tomorrow! ;) Nancy

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 9:05PM
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sylviatexas1

I missed that completely!

"If it sounds like fun & your significant other will stand for it, you can puree nitrogenous material in a blender."

I like the idea of a sugar cane stalk crusher, too.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:02PM
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Derffie

I'm having the same / similar problem. What I've been doing so far is to use a heavy transfer shovel. I sharpened the edge with a file but a grinder would probably work better. I pile up the greens on a piece of thick plywood and the chop away with the shovel. If you do a little at a time and let the weight of the shovel do half of the work, it's not too bad.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 7:48AM
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qbush(6, NE MA)

Derffie
Thanks! I tried this with a shovel, in the bed I am working on. The only problem is I am lousy at the "do a little at a time" part. Sore shoulder next day, but I am putting DTB to work on it. He loves destroying things!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:57AM
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drmbear

The shredders that will work on green materials, and even in-process compost pile contents, are many times more expensive than those that normal people can afford. The kinds that have interchangeable grates, or even removable grates, often say they can handle the wet stuff with the grate removed. I'm just not interested in paying $3000 to $5000 for a shredder. The one I got for $200, used, works fine for shredding leaves and trimmings from trees and shrubbs. Anything "green just goes in the pile as is, and later when sifting if there are sticks, twigs, or more solid stuff, I'll toss it over into my pile for shredding.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 10:06AM
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ofpete

I just got an electric Sun Joe leaf shredder, basically a tub with a weed whacker head stuck upside down, the cutters being paired strands of weed whacker monofilament. It chews up anything that is not woody, and even some of that if it is not too thick. It has an adjustable grate at one end for green leaves and the other for dry like pine needles of dry grass. If the material is really soggy (like Azolla fresh from the pond) the stuff gets thrown against the tub walls and acumulates. Have to shut down, pull tub off and clean, but no big deal. Also have to replace the mono periodically. But for just over $100 I think it can't be beat

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 10:58AM
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ofpete

P S If you don't want to spend all that time typing out "mucilaginous" why not substitute "gluey"?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 4:58PM
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