Dealing with Garden Waste

How to deal with garden waste

During the summer most gardeners will be adding to their compost bins leaving them with a lovely crumbly compost to put on their flower beds in autumn. Composting is a beautiful simple system that puts back what we take out of the earth. However not all waste is simple or can be simply put into your compost bin.

Garden waste such as roots of couch grass and bindweed cannot simply be put into your compost bin and not everyone has the means to dispose of this properly, such as a wood chipper. So what do you do? Put it in your green council waste bin? Burn it on a bonfire or stack it up and take it to the tip? Well, you can do all these things but if you want to be green and put the nutrients from this waste back into the earth, they are not the answer.

The simple answer is to drown them, yes take your perennial weeds, couch grass, bind weed and put it all in a bin full of water! Eventually this will rot down into a compostable mulch. This you simply add to your compost, minus the water.

The water however now contains all the nutrients from the weeds etc. and should definitely not be wasted. Instead use it as a weed tea, a fertiliser to be diluted and put onto your plants.

Alternatively you could add duckweed to your bin, just float it on the top. This will gorge itself on the nutrient rich water rapidly spreading to cover it. You can then skim this off the surface and use it as mulch. Leave some duck weed behind to regrow.

You may also have some dead hedge waste such as woody prunings from trees, shrubs and perennials. These you could make into a dead hedge, a simple yet effective solution to uncompostable waste. Simply push two parallel lines of stakes into the ground 30-0cm apart and throw your prunings into the space between them. This doesn’t return nutrients to the ground with any speed but does make use of the waste as an attractive screen. All the nooks and crannies also make good homes for wildlife.

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