[Market-farming] Shredding leaves efficiently

Richard Robinson rrobinson at nasw.org
Wed Nov 26 09:35:42 EST 2014


I will echo the comment by Richard Stewart that whole leaves can work well with garlic. My experience is that maple mats worse than oak, but even then, a small effort in the spring to liberate the shoots that are tardy emerging is all it takes. This takes me maybe 15 minutes for about 1000 heads, and it's a pleasure to see early green things emerging that time of year.

If your crop is a lot bigger than that, you might consider buying a leaf vac/shredder used by the landscaping pros. The ground leaves that come out are an incredible product, and the ability to vacuum them up amd blow them out would be a real benefit on a larger scale.

  Richard Robinson
  www.nasw.org/users/rrobinson/
  Hopestill Farm
  www.hopestill.com


On 11/26/2014 at 9:30:35 AM, GarlicGrower wrote:
> Hi, Richard (and everyone else)!
>
>
> I’ve had problems with unshredded leaves in the garlic, but most of the
> leaves around here have tended to be oak, so that could be the problem. 
> Garlic is my favorite crop, so I’m more nervous about it.
>
>
> The chickens are coming on Monday (my 16 month old English Shepherd can’t
> wait!) – I’ve been advised by several sources to shred the leaves before
> putting them in the coop because otherwise, they will mat down too much for
> the deep litter method.  Interested in folks’ perspective/experience on
> this.
>
>
> I like the idea of once the ES knows what he’s doing with the chickens, we
> either herd the chickens to a pile of leaves and let them go at it or I start
> dumping the leaves inside the chicken fence to let them shred away.
>
>
> I’m not worried about nutrient loss in the woodland as it is in the center
> of the farm and the ones that I’m getting are fallen into the fields and at
> the base of the stone wall that surrounds the woodland (suspicion is that in
> 1856 when the farm was created, there were pigs inside the stone
> wall/woodland).  I’m not actually going inside the woodland/stone wall to
> get them. 
>
>
> Considering that this farm was abandoned in 1964 when the last farmer died,
> we have brush, brush, brush and the chipper/shredder has been very useful to
> turn that brush into mulch and compost and get rid of varmint habitat (even
> if we do have an ES and a Border Collie!).  But I’m all for getting the
> farm back into a balance where the plants and animals do more of the work and
> we purchase as few inputs as possible.
>
>
> Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and I appreciate your thoughts on these
> matters.
>
>
> Dorene
>
>
> From: Market-farming [mailto:market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On
> Behalf Of Richard Moyer
> Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 10:14 AM
> To: market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Shredding leaves efficiently
> >
>
>> Dorene,
>>
>
> Have been watching, then helping my father mulch with UNshredded leaves for
> 50 years, and doing my own plantings for 30 years.  With mixed hardwood
> leaves, mostly unshredded.   
>
>
> Yes shredded leaves take less space. And they don't blow as much.  But if you
> can get to them as needed in the center of your farm, and they largely will
> stay put, can you gather them as needed, and shred as needed, for intended
> use?
>
>
> You want efficiency?  On our farm, chickens are our most efficient leaf
> shredders.  They delight in this, expressing their 'chicken-ness', and keeps
> them from being bored when ground is covered in snow or frozen.
>
>
> Harvey Ussery uses WHOLE leaves as deep bedding for his poultry.
>
>
> As for garlic emergence through whole leaves, if you mulch with more maple
> and hickory leaves and less oak in the mix, can pile deeper, as the former
> two are thinner leaves, and more easily penetrated by emerging garlic shoots. 
> Large oak leaves tend to mat together and can hinder garlic emergence.  But
> even shredded leaves can hinder garlic emergence, if too thick, or have
> formed an inter-locking layer.  Either way, I walk along and 'free' the
> occasional garlic shoot that is hung up in the leaves, relative to its
> neighbors.
>
>
> Not that I want to take you and yours away from modern 'human-ness' of
> playing with purchased farm toys, such as your BCS  chipper/shredder.  Just
> suggesting you step back and consider what the animals or plants can do on
> their own, with a bit of management and observation on your part.
>
>
> One more thought.  Few farmers actively fertilize wooded areas on their
> farms.  If removing many leaves, beware of nutrient cycles and potential
> nutrient loss, over time.  Of course, if livestock take shelter in the woods
> during parts of the year, they oft are taking nutrients in, in highly
> bioavailable forms.  A soil test from your woods can identify any trace
> nutrient deficiencies, some of which can be addressed with a hand spreader,
> without much cost or time.
>
>
> Out to dump a load of leaves from nearby town, and pick up another. Can
> identify with Joel and Daniel Salatin, confessed "carbon fiends".
>
>
> Richard Moyer
>
>
> SW VA
>>
>>
>> Message: 2
>> Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:52:05 -0500
>> From: GarlicGrower <garlicgrower at green-logic.com> To: 'Market Farming'
>> <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org> Subject: [Market-farming] Shredding
>> Leaves Efficiently Message-ID: <000001d0071c$4a8bf7b0$dfa3e710$@green-
>> logic.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>>
>> Hi, Folks!
>>
>> We have an acre of oak/hickory/maple woodland in the middle of our farm and
>> the leaves are relatively easy to gather.  I wanted to shred them both for
>> the chickens I'm getting (deep litter method) and for mulch for the garlic.
>> What's your most efficient way of shredding lots of leaves?
>>
>>
>> We have a BCS with a BIO-150 chipper/shredder, but the leaves keep getting
>> jammed in the shredder chute.  We're using a pole to stir the leaves to get
>> them to the blades, but if there is a more efficient way to shred an acre's
>> worth of leaves, I'm all ears.
>>
>>
>> Thanks!
>>
>>
>> Dorene

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