Spring is a time of prolific growth and gardens end up with more vegetation than we want, particularly vegetation that could be a fire risk over summer. The first step is deciding how much vegetation to remove while maintaining a wildlife-friendly garden. The CFA and other organisations provide some guidance on balancing healthy garden ecosystems with “tidying up”. Check out the CFA website and Birds in backyards for more.
But we still end up with a lot of green “waste”. BEAM encourages people to see green waste as a valuable resource:
- Large woody material can be safely left on the ground as valuable habitat for a wide variety of animals. It is the fine material that carries fire, not the dense logs.
- Very fine material can be composted and re-used on garden beds. Mitchell Shire Council is encouraging composting by offering residents a subsidy of up to 50% on compost bins and worm farms purchased from September 27 to November 2, 2014. This subsidy “provides an opportunity to become part of the wonderful world of composting or to learn about a new kind of small-scale farming – worm farming!”
- That still leaves a lot of material, particularly lighter woody material, to be dealt with. Wood chipping could turn this into valuable mulch but machines large enough to handle wood waste are expensive. So many people take the woody debris to the tip. The Council waives fees for green waste before the summer fire season. The Broadford, Wallan, Pyalong and Seymour Resource Recovery Centres (Transfer Stations will be accepting green waste free of charge from 25 October to 30 November 2014 (see http://www.mitchellshire.vic.gov.au/). This helps to reduce the amount of woody waste that is burnt (with air quality issues) or illegally dumped (with issues of rubbish and weeds). And you can purchase the same material from the Council, nicely mulched to lay on your gardens for the hot months to come (although you need to check on the quality of the Council’s mulch as many people use the tip as an opportunity to get rid of a lot of other stuff including treated pine and painted wood).