Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's Easy Being Green: Handling Yard Waste

I compost most of my yard and garden waste (and other compostables) in these two open bins, turning them about once a month. To the right are biodegradable bags of fall leaves that we stacked up next to the bins and will add as needed, or let decompose into leaf mold and use as mulch.
Not all yard waste can be composted, however. Branches, for example, just take too long to decompose. So when this half-a-tree fell in our driveway last weekend, I found homes for some of its parts other than in the landfill.
How about a tree trunk side table or garden stool?
Some things can be composted, but it's not advised - weeds that have gone to seed, anything especially invasive, etc. In the picture below, my neighbor's yard is on the left and mine is on the right. This undesirable vine was taking over my flower bed, so I kept pulling it up by the root and pulled it from my bed through (under) the grass and up to his bed, where apparently it originated. I cut it off at the edge of his bed, but it must have been 15 feet long at that point! (I could only find a 10 ft. tape measure)
I sure didn't put that sucker in the compost! The perfect place for something like a root I don't want to re-root, as well as some of the tree branches from the fallen tree, is the back forty part of our yard where the compost lives. I pile up brush and branches there for birds and other small creatures to use for shelter. The simple pile is one of the reasons my yard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat! It's easy to do, makes birds happy, and cuts down on landfill use. Win-Win-Win.
How do you dispose of yard waste?


Janet said...

Evening Ginger, I have a worm bin in the laundry room that is gradually increasing in population and can add more kitchen scraps. We used to have an outside compost heap, but the high tides took it out to sea.

Susie said...

Unfortunately I have gotten behind on my composting. Mostly all my leaves and stuff like it are still laying in the yard.

I can't believe the size of that root! Goodness gracious!

Did that tree(limb) do any damage? Did you have some big wind that blew it off?

Ginger said...

Janet - I'm fascinated by worm bins. I'm sure we'll end up with one sooner or later!

Susie - You know we haven't had any storms!! It's just one of those hugely overgrown bradford pears that split from time to time. I did find it interesting that it split where the woodpecker damage was the heaviest - perhaps it does weaken the trees after all.

Dirt Princess said...

I put everything in mine, except weeds. My next spring it will be rich soil

Prairie Chicken... said...

I'm only a second year composter. I need to make more space to make an area for my lawn clippings. I always feel horrible when I send a full bag of grass to the landfill.
We're vegetarians in my house so our compost bin is busy busy busy. We need to figure out how to compost in -30C though.

Certified wildlife habitat? HORRAH!

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

I put most of it in the yard waste container that gets picked up weekly by the county. I do put a lot in our compost bin, but it fills so quickly it doesn't always have space. I've used trunks like you have before too to set a planter or birdbath on.

Ginger said...

DP- You go girl! You'll have to post pics of your finished compost.

PC- I'm a vegetarian, too, so my compost bin gets a workout as well. Sounds like you need to be worm composting in the winter.

Catherine- Ooh I'm so jealous that you live somewhere that has year-round yard waste pickup! They only do that here in the winter with leaves and Christmas trees. GREAT idea about using trunks for birdbath or plant stands!

Prairie Chicken... said...

still trying to sell the hubby on worms in the basement. he's sure that they'l smell.. do you have any experience with vermicomposting?

Heather said...

Good thinking, Ginger! Another idea if you have access to a big enough chainsaw is to rip the tree length wise and make two half round benches out of it. You can make stands out of two other rounds with notches cut into them and all the pals will have a place to sit at the next bonfire!

Rosemarie said...

Love the tree trunk table. Great idea.