SQWIB
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How do you guys take care of your garden waste?

How do you guys take care of your garden waste?

I'm interested to see what others are doing.

For my cleanup, I will cut everything back and may leave the root-balls in the soil with the exception of the tomatoes until late winter. If I have any thing that has gone to seed and flowered I leave it be until the first frost. The herbs are left undisturbed. The sunflowers, if spent, are chopped and into the compost heap.

The salvageable veggies are set aside and the ones that can not be saved go in a bucket. All the "healthy" plants with the exception of the tomato plants are chopped up and tossed in the compost bin then I mush up the waste veggies with some water and toss in the compost heap.

The tomato plants are tossed in the fire with some hardwoods. After a few weeks the fire pit is cleaned out and the ashes are divided over the firepit and on top of the beds.

All the veggies will be processed one way or another, sundried tomatoes, tomato powder, eggplant Parmesan, eggplant burgers, dried herbs, stevia sweetener, hot sauces, blanch and freeze, fire roasted peppers that are dehydrated, and my now famous end of the season garden jambalaya. I haven't gotten into canning yet. I'll be asking advice on that soon :D

In late winter before any planting, intact root-balls are pulled up and the soil is shaken off in place, then the root balls are tossed in the fire.

I found this quite interesting as well;

Cool season plants will continue to grow in cold weather and don't need to be removed right away. Leaving brassica plants like cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and radishes is a natural way to kill some insect pests. The vegetation attracts some harmful insects. After harsh winter temperatures finally kill them and the plants begin to decompose in early spring, they'll actually release cyanide compounds that will kill those pests. You can pull them up and add them to the compost pile in spring.
That is how I have been doing it and there are a ton of tips out there that are conflicting, anyhow I found these articles interesting.

https://savvygardening.com/6-reasons-not ... this-fall/

https://savvygardening.com/spring-garden ... one-right/


Tell me how you do your cleanup!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How do you guys take care of your garden waste?

Yup, basically like that.

Everything soft that is pulled goes in the compost pile, mixed in with fall leaves.

Stuff that is too tough to compost in any reasonable amount of time goes in a separate pile to dry out and ultimately get run through the chipper shredder. Wood chips get used for paths, etc. Tough vines go in the compost pile after they are shredded.
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imafan26
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Re: How do you guys take care of your garden waste?

Most of the larger trimmings from the Hedges and trees and the larger garden waste goes to the city green waste.
I leave grass clippings in place as mulch. I sweep the grass from the sidewalk back to the grass. I will only put clippings in greenwaste when I let it get too big and the mulch gets too thick.

Some of the the clean garden waste that does not grow back like cornstalks and some of the plant leaves, I can chop up and use as mulch.

If the crop residues are clean, then I can chop them and till them into the bed or use it to mulch the garden afterwards. My soil is nitrogen rich so the decomposition doesn't steal that much.

Overgrown produce like cabbages, lettuce and kitchen waste can go to the worm bin or can be frozen and either fed to the worms or I can trench compost.

True tropical trees don't shed much. The trees that shed leaves are the non native ones like plumeria, sakura, and crepe myrtle. Everything else just drops a few leaves at a time which are easily left in place or raked up. However, they do have to be trimmed to keep them from crowding or getting too big. Usually the trimmings will fill my green can up fast and I may have to make additional runs to the greenwaste facility with the extra trimmings. They will accept up to two household loads a day. I have two green cans. I can get more, but in commie ville, you need a place to store them out of sight.
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The really infested plants and perennial weeds go into the trash and taken to the H-Power plant to be burned as fuel for electricity.

Soil from pots are taken to the garden to be sterilized in the steam sterilizer, then it can be reused. Potting soil from large pots like the tomatoes are turned into the garden. The pots are cleaned with bleach and new potting soil is added to plant more t omatoes. Reusing the old soil in pots has not had good results. It isn't worth getting a soil test to correct the nutrients and pH for pots.

Sterilized soil is mixed with fresh potting soil so it is not all old soil.

Orchid mix either has to be thrown away in the trash or I can use some of it to fill low spots in the yard. Orchid mix is decomposing bark, cinders, stryrofoam and sometimes bits of the pots. I am moving more toward no media for a number of my orchids. I just use styrofoam to keep them stable. They have less root rot that way. I still end up breaking some of the terra cotta pots. When the orchids overgrow the wood baskets, they have to be ripped apart to get the orchid out.

I resterilize pots and reuse them as many times as possible but eventually, I do have to trash them when they can no longer function. There comes a point with terra cotta that the salt build up gets so bad that the pot has to be thrown away.
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digitS'
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Re: How do you guys take care of your garden waste?

by SQWIB » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:14 am "...Leaving brassica plants... release cyanide compounds that will kill those pests..."

That might explain that pungent smell. I like how brassicas leave the soil.

by SQWIB » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:14 am "... the root balls are tossed in the fire..."

Are you concerned about pests in the roots of some plants but not the brassicas?

My garden soil drains easily. In my smaller vegetable garden, I do quite a lot of "composting in place" in the garden beds themselves. Some of the beds are dug out to about the depth of 8" to 10". Frost-killed plants are tossed in and the soil is returned to the bed. Most of the root growth is in the soil and decomposition of the previous year's plant wastes is fairly complete by late in the season. Organic fertilizer is added to the top few inches of the soil surface, worked in before the planting of seeds or plants and, likely, used as a side-dressing later in the season.

During the spring season, plant growth usually starts slowly. The frost-killed plants from the earlier season have had 5 or 6 months in the soil. I recently checked the soil temperatures listed by Washington State in agricultural areas throughout the state. Not one of the probes at 8" recorded a temperature colder than 30°f. A substantial blanket of snow helps insulate the soil surface. I've little doubt that this is also true in the various locations where I garden. In fact, soil with a high organic content including plant material that is actively decaying is likely to have warmer temperatures.

My compost piles themselves are "fed" through the growing season. Those additions end with garden clean-up but it amounts to fairly small piles of material covered with soil. The compost bins are also semi-subterranean, much like the planting beds. I have grown things on compost piles left otherwise undisturbed through the growing season. That works for some things. The compost is removed in the year following. I haven't done this in recent years. The semi-subterranean location helps in the arid summer climate here. To repeat, the surrounding soil drains easily but there is really very little chance of excess water and without irrigation there are few vegetables that could be grown here.

Things are quite a bit different in my large vegetable garden. Only some of it is in beds, without frames. In that garden, the neighbor and I have the tractor guy come in for tilling. In 2015, he arrived in the fall and I retilled everything with a walk-behind tiller in the spring of 2016. Actually, many of the beds were cultivated with a spading fork. I much prefer to do that but this is a very large space and the part that is not in beds is 30' by 200'. There's no way to go through all of that without a crew of helpers - which I don't have ;). So, enter The Tractor Guy.

On the approximately one-half the garden in beds, he does a very good job at keeping the tires on the permanent paths and only tilling the beds. My job before he gets there is to get all the material cut up and down on the ground. Then, the tractor and tiller show up. I'm not 100% happy with the result of this process but it's kind of a semi-farming operation there with marketing of much of the produce.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

john gault
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Re: How do you guys take care of your garden waste?

I no longer have a dedicated compost pile, my yard is my compost. The main garden is my main compost area during the off-season. During the growing season I have numerous heavily mulched areas I can put my kitchen waste.

I basically chop and drop my garden waste. I also leave the root system in the soil for the soil organisms that live deeper than the very top level.

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applestar
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Re: How do you guys take care of your garden waste?

I think my methods are closest to john gault's. Most of the garden waste is left on the ground -- thicker, harder to decompose stuff in the paths (to be trampled down and into the ground) -- in the bed or closest to where they were growing.

I got tired of hauling everything to the compost pile, then hauling compost back. I also realized that I was keeping the compost piles located where the leached nutrients are doing nothing but feeding the neighbor's pine trees that get taller and wider every year and are already reaching way over the fence (and no doubt way under the fence as well).

I also build compost piles IN the beds to benefit next year's crops, and move the piles around the beds as they are turned -- my version of "chicken-less tractor" LOL

Although overwintering pests are often sited as reason for removing the debris, since I don't use anything to kill the bugs and encourage full diversity in my garden, I think/hope their predators are just as likely to be overwintering in, among, or under the debris.

I suppose diseases -- fungi, bacteria, viruses -- are another issue, but I do try to rotate the major crops. I only use milk spray and AACT for fungal preventive. Hopefully the microbial diversity means there are also predarorial microbes in the micro-Garden Patrol ranks as well.
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SQWIB
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Re: How do you guys take care of your garden waste?

digitS' wrote:
by SQWIB » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:14 am "... the root balls are tossed in the fire..."

Are you concerned about pests in the roots of some plants but not the brassicas?

Steve
No not really, my concern would only be to the tomato plants root balls. some of the stems and rootballs are quite woodsy by the end of the season and take a bit of time in the compost bin, plus I like fire :D


Do you think I would be better leaving the root balls in, indefinitely? With the exception of the mater Tomato plants of course.

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digitS'
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Re: How do you guys take care of your garden waste?

Root tissue holds water even after the plant is dead.

If moisture retention is an important reason for you to use compost, those roots should be important to you ;).

I realize that the soil around the previous year's tomatoes can harbor diseases waiting to attack fresh plants. Risks to those roots ...

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

imafan26
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Re: How do you guys take care of your garden waste?

I plant intensively and I don't row plant so it is hard to leave roots of large plants like corn in place so I usually take them out. Sometimes, I have had some problems where plants don't like to grow over decaying roots.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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