Gardening work, both in the vegetable garden and the garden or the orchard, leave regular plant debris: mowed grass, cut branches, tomato stalks after production, faded flowers, etc. (Non-contractual photo, does not necessarily reflect the drawing)
All this debris can pile up in a corner, but they are unattractive and generate bad smells.
All plant debris (including vegetable peelings) can be converted into compostby natural microbial fermentation. Compost is an excellent amendment for all types of soil. Producing it yourself from waste that we do not know what to do is therefore an interesting operation. Of course, they can also be burned, at least those that dry out when allowed to spread.
But this operation is not always recommended, or even possible. Recall burning bans in areas that are very sensitive to fire (especially the south of France), as well as bans in residential homes or built-up areas. In addition, ashes are less interesting from an amendment point of view than compost (except for acidic and heavy soils).
The roller mill
The first grinders were intended for professional use, for operators of relatively large areas, especially in orchards. These are machines with two horizontal rollers with parallel axes each carrying blades on two opposite generators (or four on the biggest grinders).
These machines can be driven either from a tractor - through a pulley or PTO - or from an electric or thermal motor installed on the crusher itself. They are able to grind branches of relatively large diameterbut are not very useful for composting mowing or peeling waste.
The disc crusher
For the amateur gardener, the disc mill is perfect. It is a machine using a disc carrying three or four knives. This disk revolves around a vertical axis on which are also arranged one or two blades horizontal, placed above the disc. Although smaller and more robust, these blades are comparable to those of a lawn mower. Their function is precut the branches which are then shredded by the disc's knives. It is an electric motor that drives it through a V-belt drive.
The waste to be milled is introduced from above, into a cylindrical body, or laterally into an oblique chute; it is used mainly for grinding large diameter branches. The grinding residues are ejected through a duct located at the base of the main body of the machine, on which a salvage bag can be adapted.
After each grinding operation, clean the body, the disc and the blades, operation facilitated by the disassembly of the cylindrical body. There are now grinders whose body is rigid plastic (ABS) and whose blades covered with a plastic abrasion resistant, allow washing jet.
It is recommended to check the condition of the blades after each grinding. Sharpening can be done in situ with a portable grinder, or after removal, with the file. The cylindrical body is provided with a safety funnel preventing the operator from pushing fingers to the blade level; it is enough to remove this funnel to examine the state of the blades.
Always put it back in place before working. If the drive jams and the engine continues to run, the belt will skate, heat up, and may quickly be destroyed. Once a year, examine the condition of the belt and change it if it is cracked or frayed. Take the opportunity to also examine the condition of the engine coals. When you do not plan to use the shredder for several months, get it into a dry shelter and, after having thoroughly cleaned it, dry it and then cover it with a protective plastic.
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