Chipper Mulcher Update

Chipper Mulcher Update

Chinese Chipper Mulcher

Fifteen minutes later a wheelbarrow load of branches is chipped

It’s been a while since I did an update on the Chinese chipper mulcher I purchased about three years ago. It gets used about twice a year and what has surprised me is that every time I wheel it out, it starts first time. I haven’t had to charge the battery, just check the fuel and oil, turn the key and away it goes. You can read about it here.

Using the chipper
This time though, I did have to get a new chipper blade as I had worn both sides of the other one down to blunt. I had made an attempt to sharpen the chipper blade with a wetstone. I sharpened it enough to get me through the last time I  needed to use it, but it wasn’t going to work this time. I had a few branches to put through and needed to have a sharp blade to get the  job done.

I ordered the new blade when I purchased the mini tiller and it was in the box. It only took about ten minutes to fit the blade, make sure it was securely tightened and hit the starter. Away it went again.

It didn’t take long to get through the wheelbarrow full of  branches. A sharp blade makes life easier.

Using the mulcher hopper

small branches and plants for the mulcher

Pile of branches and old plants for mulching

after mulching

Pile reduction after mulching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After running the branches through the chipper I had a pile of old  plants and small branches to put through the mulcher hopper. Again the chipper mulcher made short work of it. Every  time I see that advert where the guy is wheeling a chipper mulcher out of the aisle that is marked “Items only used once”, I smile as I don’t use this very  often, but when I do I am pleased I purchased it. I reckon that’s the best recommendation I can give.

Why they hill up potatoes

Why they hill up potatoes

Do You Hill Up Your Potatos?

Volunteer PotatoVolunteer Potatoes

A few of last year’s potatoes decided to reshoot in the bed that I wanted to grow corn this year. I dug them out to see if there were any potatoes worth salvaging. Unfortunately the bed was quite hard and the potatos had a hard job growing into the soil, they just grew little ones on top.

When I saw the plants and their root system I was quite pleased and thought that the photos would make it easier to see how the potato sends out laterals from the main stem. If they find a suitable environment, they grow a potato from that lateral. Optimum growing conditions for potatoes is the mallee country in Victoria and South Australia. The soil is quite sandy and this allows the potato laterals to creep out through the sand easily and then grow a potato.

 

Potato roots and small potatoesIt is difficult for the potato to flourish in heavy clay soil. If this is your soil, you are better off to grow them in big mounds, or hay bales above the ground. Search for a copy of Esther Dean’s No Dig Gardening.

In this picture you can see the laterals that grow from the stem of the plant. If you look closely you will see that the laterals are attached to a small potato that is growing on the end. If the soil wasn’t as compacted the laterals would have grown much longer and gained more space for the potato to grow. When they are growing in light sandy soils or in a bed of compost or similar, you can “bandicoot” some potatoes as they grow. A bandicoot is a small Australian marsupial that digs and forages for food. Bandicoots are known to dig up potatos.

All Hilled Up

I am hilling these potatoes as they grow. The mound they are in is now about two feet (60cm) above the garden bed level. I planted the seed potatoes in the garden bed and as the stems grew, I moved some compost and kept pushing it up around them. The compost is fairly light and not compacted at all which should make it quite easy for potatoes to grow into it. That’s the theory. Time will tell if it is successful or not.

The dripper lines are at the bottom where the seed potatos were planted. I figured that the compost on top would prevent evaporation and that any excess moisture would probably wick up through the mound.

Harvest Time

Potatos are harvested after flowering and when the tops have died off. Commercial growers usually spray the potatoes with a herbicide to kill the tops and make them wither. They find it easier to harvest if the top growth has all withered and shrivelled. It makes it easier on their machinery if they don’t have any fibrous material clogging it up. It also means that they can harvest earlier than if they waited for the tops to die naturally. You just don’t know how many chemicals you are ingesting when you rely solely on out food suppliers.

potatos hilled up

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