I Got A Wood Chipper!
At the end of the growing season, I have piles and piles of greens, stems and leaves to get out of my vegetable garden. (Think sunflowers, corn, fennel and sunchokes.) I like to recycle everything grown in my garden into compost or finely chopped greens (Chop-and-drop) sprinkled on top of my beds. I find my compost works quicker and my chop-and-drop action is more effective if all these greens and leaves are chopped finely first. This means I have to hand-chop giant tomato and potato and cauliflower plants pulled from the garden. I need to eliminate giant perennials like Fennel, Sunchokes and Asparagus. And believe me, the broccoli and Brussels Sprout stems are so big it takes ages to chop them with my machete and sometimes I just can’t do it.
Because of this, I have always wanted a wood chipper for my vegetable garden and last year a community garden in Calgary approached me to help them find one to use in their garden. That got me thinking about chippers again and when I heard about the Eliet Maestro – a gas powered but small scale chipper for the home garden, I had to give it a try. But as perfect as the chopping mechanism is in the Eliet, it didn’t have a top-loading hopper so I had to use sticks and twigs to encourage the greens and small bits of veg to feed through the unit. I wasn’t using it in fall so I was focusing on the large rubbery Kale and Broccoli stems still in my garden in January.
A compost pile and a vegetable garden work better if you manage the amount of “wood” added and I could see that the ratio I was making was at least 50-50 wood to greens as I was chopping with my Maestro. This is not the best ratio for the vegetable garden. In fact for the vegetable garden, wood should be less than 30% compared to greens. But even so, I must repeat, I loved this chipper and if you have a fruit garden or shrub beds that need topdressing with homemade chips, this might be just the right chipper to own. If you have a vegetable garden watch maybe you can rent a machine in the fall just to grind the really big stems up. Watch this video before you buy a chipper:
What Would Donna Do?
Get my growing and gardening tips and pointers throughout the season.