Fall Composting With a String Trimmer


alright this is ssl family dad with simple
suburban living, and today we are going to be doing a little bit of fall composting with
good old leaves. so I just wanted to run through a couple of things that we like to do with
compost and also show you what this strange contraption is here that I’m trying out as
a little solution to deal with our leaves. so stay tuned and check it out! So this is
out little compost pile or area back here, I just threw up so wire and a couple of cheap
posts ah, last year, actually two years ago and ah, we have been using this as our kind
of primary compost pile. Basically what we do is kind of separate it into two halves.
So we start off one year we do everything over there, let that cook over to the summer
and then start using this one and then just kind of switch back and forth. And, I always
turn it as much as I can remember to with a pitch fork. You can compost down a good
sized pile of leaves and scraps as long as you use the right mix of compost material,
nitrogen and carbon stuff. Um, in about 60 days you can get it down pretty good and ready
to use in the garden, so, um, in the summertime anyway. So this is kind of what we are doing
here, um, I am also going to put a link over to a TED talk that I watched last year and
it really kind of inspired me to use more of our leaves. Leaves are and Excellent, excellent,
excellent source of compost and carbon and here is a giant pile and as well as we have
a few more to rake up around the yard here. you can never.. it seems like there is always
plenty of leaves around, so ah, but the problem with throwing leaves directly into the compost
pile is that they matte down and get stuck in layers and they are really hard to turn
and deal with so it is a really good idea to chop those up into small pieces, so I’ll
kind of show you what we are doing with our old compost from last year and then how we
are going to deal with some of these leaves. Ok, so this is just an example of our compost
from uh, this summer and last year, whatever is left over in our compost pile and man is
this just awesome stuff. Um, so, it is a good idea in the fall time to just scrap the bottom
of your compost pile and just get everything off of it and put it out into your garden
beds, um, since over the wintertime and spring time all the melting snow and rain and stuff
like that is just gonna kind of wash a lot of the nutrients out of your compost and put
it all in the soil right underneath your compost pile or at the bottom. so, just take all that
out and spread it all over your garden beds, um, ready for the spring. Anything that washes
through ya know at least will be within the first 6 inches of your garden and you can
till that up when it comes springtime so, but, all of our leaves from last year. ok,
so no, this is not a Bissell steam cleaner, this is a contraption that I have tried to
test out as kind of an idea here. Um, build a leaf multcher and I am using our electric
Ryobi string trimmer which you can kind of see sticking out here. And then I have a box
that we did actually purchase the steam cleaner in, and I just kind of mount the head of the
string trimmer in here on a piece of plywood, which is actually OSB, whatever. And I have
cut some notches out in the sides right here where the um, kind of, it, the string trimmer
pushes all the leaves out in these notches in each side and then I built these little
hoods here so that it directs the leaves down into this little bin that we have. And I actually
picked this bin up in our industrial, local industrial area, um, just a little wooden
bin they had sitting out for the trash. so, but what you end up with is ah, real nice
chopped up ah, leaves here. And these will compost much faster and require a lot less
turning. so, still some good sized pieces in there but most of it is all chopped in
there, in little bits, so, that’s the idea. Now, of course you can go out and buy a good
um, leaf shredder, chipper shredder, whatever you want to call it but they do cast money.
And it cost money to run and maintain and I really honestly we live in a suburban setting
and I don’t use I wouldn’t use it that much, once a year, so it’s hard to justify a one
to two even three hundred dollar expense to ah, just chop up leaves once a year, um. So
I’ll show you how this thing works and ah, kind of go over at the end here and ah let
you know if it’s something we will continue to use or not. well, you’ve got to see it
in action there and it works pretty well. Actually shreds the leaves up really nicely
um, but unfortunately I just think it’s not quite powerful enough to ah, run through as
many leaves as we have here. These leaves are a little bit wet also which is a problem
for us here up here in Michigan every year. Um, it’s hard leaves just don’t have time
to dry out once you pile them up they seem to just stay wet it rains too much so. Um,
the design and the idea I think is really good and next year I might if I have a motor
maybe I can attach a string trimmer head to it and build a wood stand um, or something
to go over this bin ah, so I may experiment with that more next year. This will work for
us for now just to get most of these shredded up but I think we are going to have to build
something a little tougher for next year. So thanks for watching and if you have any
questions or comments please put those down below I do appreciate it, um, if you have
any ah anything to add or any idea or anything that you like to do for your fall composting
kind of routine, ah, let us know and throw those in the comments, I really do appreciate
that. So hit thumbs up on the video if you found it entertaining or informational at
all and things for watching, have a good one!

16 thoughts on “Fall Composting With a String Trimmer

  1. What a great idea, I've got to try something like this, like you said, the chipper shredder is too expensive for a once a year use, great video.

  2. I'm still using my lawnmower w bag.  It's hard work and the mower will get bogged down if you aren't careful, but it works reasonably well.

  3. My leaf blower works great. Most of them come with an attachment for the air intake so you can suck leaves up and comes with a bag to catch the chopped stuff. Definitely recommended. It's not as fun as your project but works great lol.

  4. get a chipper vac. That way you only handle the leaves once when you dump them out on the compost pile, chipper vac shreds leave when it picks them up makes short work. as price point I have had mine for 10 years and its still running great .

  5. I find using a mulching mower is very cost & time effective. It shreds leaves well & I just dump the shredded material into the compost pile when the bag fills up.

  6. I am glad to see I wasn't the only one inspired by that very TED talk. I now have leave piles and a worm bin… I'm a noob with no results yet, but we are giving it a go. Thanks for your content sir!

  7. I think I've tried everything for shredding leaves – chipper vac, lawn mower with bagger, lawn tractor with bagger, electric string trimmer and gas string trimmer. I haven't tried a dedicated leaf shredder. Here's my rankings:

    Worst: chipper vac. Doesn't shred hardly at all
    Lawn mower or lawn tractor (with or without bagger), neither shreds leaves very well but both are excellent for bagging leaves.
    String trimmers come in two types: electric and gas. I've had both and used both to shred leaves by dumping leaves into a large garbage pail. The electric was light a easy to use but really didn't shred the leaves finely (I got similar results as those shown in the video).But I like my leaves to be shredded almost to a powder. My Echo gas string trimmer does that perfectly. I dump leaves into a wooden (don't use wire) 3' x 3' x 3' compost bin and shred them with the trimmer. You can also use a garbage pail. Yields a finely shredded bunch of leaves that composts well.

  8. I use my push mower in mulch mode to powder up the leaves. After about 3 passes I put the collection bag on and set the height to its lowest setting and bag it up. Very little handling involved. Just empty the bag into the compost pile.

  9. I use my mower to bag the leaves. Dump them in a trash can. Then dump that through a worx leaf shedder I modified with copper wire in stead of string trimmer line. This pulverizes them into powder that I catch in a trash bag. Then dump that on the compost pile. Breaks down quickly the following spring when I turn it and add grass clippings and water. The smaller your material the faster it composts.

  10. I saw a video where a guy mounted his lawnmower over a cut down plastic barrel & put leaves in that to chop them up. A bagging mower could do as well, I think, but they fill up fast. Some guys made a mulching trailer to pull behind their riding mowers. I just mulch mine into the lawn, but some compost would be nice for the planting beds.

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