10:30 a.m. The McCullough Electric Garden Chipper with pile of brush to be conquered. It’s a bad photo–sorry about that–but this pile is 2-3 feet tall and maybe 10 feet long. Blackberry bramble, smallish branches, that sort of thing. Been accumulating all winter.
1:30 p.m. Pile of brush–gone. Compost pile–hot and yummy. The brush pile shredded down to three tubs’ worth of compost–maybe 9 cubic feet in all. That represents about half of my newly-turned compost pile. The rest of the pile is chicken manure (thanks, girls!) and a
little green waste.
I’ve had this electric chipper-shredder for several years now. I pull it out two or three times a year when I have a pile of reasonably dry garden waste to shred. If it’s too green or wet, it will clog the blades. If the branches are more than about a half-inch in diameter, they won’t go through the hopper. It’s great for someone like me who doesn’t have big trees to prune, but has lots of flowering perennials that need to be whacked back.
It’s an expensive toy for generating mulch–I could buy three cubic feet of really good stuff for under ten bucks, so why spend hours outside shredding my own?–but it’s more fun than paying somebody to haul off my otherwise un-compostable green stuff.
Best of all: it’s electric. The GardenRant World Headquarters was recently contacted by a certain manufacturer of gas-powered garden tools, and although we found it hard to resist their offer of free tools in exchange for an honest review, none of us wanted a gas-powered anything. Is it a chick thing? An environmental thing? A safety thing? All of the above, probably. All I know is this: I don’t have to pour gasoline into anything else I own to make it run (other than the car), so why should I need gas for my garden tools? It’s also incredibly safe, Fargo-wise. As far as I can tell, it would be impossible to get your fingers anywhere near the blades even if you wanted to.
If you’re considering getting one, a few thoughts:
1. You’ll probably only use it a few times a year. If I had a lot of gardening friends in the neighborhood, I might have talked to them about pooling our money and sharing the shredder.
2. If I had lots of big branches to deal with every year, I would probably be better off renting a big ol’ gas-powered thing a couple times a year, maybe with some neighbors, and just having a giant shred party.
3. The assembly instructions are worse than useless. I get emails all the time from complete strangers begging for help. The photo on the left should answer the burning question you will have when you get to a certain point in the assembly process. (click to enlarge)
4. And finally–if you do buy one, try one of the links below and see if they give you either free shipping or a discount (whichever you’d rather have.)
Meanwhile, I’m done chipping for another season!Posted by Amy Stewart on March 24, 2008 at 5:22 am, in the category Taking Your Gardening Dollar.