maandag 30 januari 2017

Pruning and shredding.

How the will to shred prunings ended up in burning after all.

Picking Olives in November and December.
December 2016. The thinning of  upright growing branches.
In November and December we pick our olives. During and after picking, we prune the trees a bit. There is a lot of undergrowth and the branches, that want to grow straight up, we thin out. Otherwise they take over the entire tree and suffocate the other branches eventually. And meanwhile deliver no olives, until the very end at the top, where they can have enough light.

Neatly pruned and thinned out the undergrowth.
Sometimes it seems like there are more branches lying under the trees than there are in it. And occasionally that is true. We are left with huge amounts of prunings, that we could shred well to compost them later. The woodchips can be used as a mulch also. We did so already with the shreds of cane, which Hendrik himself chopped by hand with a machete.

Mulch of shredded cane to keep the lettuce 'clean'.
December 2016.
But anyhow, how handy Hendrik can be... he did not want to manually chop all our prunings... We could borrow a shredder from a good friend.

Walked up the hill, with a bundle of branches on the back.
We borrowed a shredder from a good friend.
A bit congested.
Shred once again... in order to make them a bit smaller.
All this took less effort and time, but eventually the capacity of such a home garden and kitchen shredder is not designed for the huge amounts of prunings that we will have every year. This not only applies to us, but also to our neighbors and their neighbors etc. And yet there still is no one that had the idea to go around the area with a large professional chipper, for contract work, for anyone who needs shredding. It would be a solution... but yet burning is an old practical habit. Burning is cheap and effective, requires no investment and no labor costs.

We shredded what we thought we needed and the rest we burned up.

Only in some wet periods of the year burning can and may be done. If you have a lot of materials for burning, the fire department must be alerted. The pastor, who is herding his sheep on our land, is helping us with this.

January. The 'man of experience' helps us with the fires.
What remains are usable ashes.
This of course can be done much better... Better for the environment? We must take a closer look:

A chipper should run on some form of energy. On fossil fuel or something with a battery. A shredder with a power cable requires a power outlet nearby. Do we drag the branches up the hill, or do we bring the chipper down?
Okay, a battery... But then, a battery must be made, must have a certain capacity, must be loaded. In addition, a chipper must be made, must have a certain capacity, must be transportable and the investment should be cost effective. And how polluting is the production process? Well... how difficult we want to make this?

We are not there yet. Even not with our good intentions.


Since we had it here at home, we also tried to shred the cane with the machine. It went like this:

A message from a horticulturist in our neighborhood:
"I know what you mean about shredding the olive prunings. We have a big tractor powered chipper and it hates thin olive wood unless the blades are very very sharp - it tends to wrap itself around the flywheel and block up. Burning is for sure the cheaper and quicker option, but not good for the environment. We often take garden waste to the transferencia station where they compost it - then we buy back the compost from them to use in our potting mixes. If you have to pay labour to make bonfires it is cheaper to take it there and better for our health. We are lucky to have a station only a few kilometers from us so it makes sense."

July 2017:

Looking for a shredder.

This is it... the Austrian Viking (GE140L). He is worth saving your savings a little longer. Quality makes us happy. In a world of dredger, this machine is a relief. Look at those beautiful chips... and this in 'now time'. So, no wonder, that the retail trade in our neighborhood runs overtime :)

An other video:

Conclusion: Fresh green reed is flexible and does not break as easily as old reed. So we can dry the reeds for a while before we shred it.

Haying is done for this year... and the reeds can wait.



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