Gardening Tips with Charlie Albone


Turn garden waste into gold

In Summer, you want to keep water in the ground for as long as possible to keep your garden hydrated. In this case, your best friend is mulch. Your second best friend is a STIHL garden shredder, which can turn your garden waste into pure gold.

When it comes to mulch, I like to go organic as it will break down adding carbon and nutrients to your soil. Good mulch also protects your delicate roots close to the surface, as it insulates the ground and helps to slow water seeping into the ground, reducing run-off.

Although growth might be stifled in Summer, it is still happening so ensuring your plants have the right nutrients is key. I apply an all-purpose fertiliser to my garden beds and take a close look at the leaves and growth habit of all my plants and add in additional nutrients where needed.

Charlie’s Mulching Tips

  • Prune away any unwanted branches, remembering to remove the three Ds – dead, damaged and diseased. The popular GTA 26 battery garden pruner is easy to operate and ideal for this task.
  • Use a shredder to reduce the size of your garden waste before adding it to the compost heap. This will enable it to break down quicker.
  • Oxygen is just as valuable to your compost as the actual ingredients. Shredding your garden waste will allow air into the mix.
  • Remember, a good compost can take 3-6 months to mature.
  • For flower beds and veggies, try a sugar cane or pea straw. It’s fine and breaks down quickly. It also adds to soil structure, ideal for veggies given the harvest changeover.
  • For areas that are less on show, like under my hedges and trees, I use a coarse pine bark mulch as it breaks down more slowly.
  • The optimum depth for mulch is 50-75mm. Any less and it’s not as effective, anymore and it can prevent rainfall from getting to the roots (as well as a host of other fungal and heat related issues).

Charlie’s Top Tools for Mulching

Not only will a STIHL garden shredder turn your garden waste into green gold, it can reduce it by 75%. When shredded effectively, woody material, leaves, lawn clippings and organic waste all work to create valuable compost and mulching material.

  • For gardeners with medium sized properties, the self-feeding STIHL GHE 135 L electric garden shredder has a wide chassis and 60L catcher, shedding branches up to 35mm thick.
  • If, like me, you work on larger properties or require a shredder for work, the GHE 355 is the largest shredder in the STIHL range. It eats through woody material with the speed and power required by professionals on a day-to-day basis.

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