“ Brand: Atco / Power (Watts): 1800 „
The greatest, most available, and cheapest (its free) soil conditioner is readily available all around you. Rubbish I hear you say and you are almost correct as I am referring to compost. Everyone with a garden should have a compost bin, or preferably two, but as this is not an review on the art of composting, I shall only mention that a piece of wood, a pile of hedge clippings or lawn mowings packed together will not decompose quickly as there will not be sufficient oxygen in the centre of the heap to allow aerobic and rapid decomposition. Shredding or crushing the materials however produces many beneficial results, particularly when composting fibrous materials such as branches, twigs or clippings. The shredding exposes a far greater surface area and makes it more susceptible to bacterial invasion as the chippings have very small fractures, which allows access by micro-organisms and oxygen, and which will in turn accelerate the composting process. Giving the compost a turn from time to time completes the process and you will soon become the proud owner of one of nature?s greatest gifts. The easiest way to shred or break up your garden material is by using a shredder. Once the domain of the professional gardener, manufacturers have designed much smaller machines for the average garden. The design of these has improved over the years, and there is now a selection of fine models on the market. I am now onto my second shredder, the first having gone to that great compost heap in the sky after 10 years of faithful service. It was an AL-KO 1100S shredder and really deserved a review all to itself but as more modern machines have superseded it, and it is no longer made, there is really no point. I must have pushed through the letterbox sized slot the equivalent of the Amazon rain forest before a particularly knotty piece of hawthorn finally brought it to its knees, and I was truthfully sorry to have to replace it.
Looking around at the available machines on the market, I was struck by a significant new feature. THEY ARE SILENT. My old machine accepted sticks and branches up to 25mm diameter and then proceeded to shred and crunch them into the fine mulch required for composting. This naturally was an extremely noisy process, covering up the curses and swearing that is all part of the process of shredding rose or any other spiky cuttings. I was once told that it sounded like a bull with its wotsits caught in a baling machine. (My spellchecker insists this should read wetsuits) After much too-ing and fro-ing I eventually settled on the ATCO 1800 watt Quiet Shredder and for the past year have had no problems whatsoever. In fact I consider it to be a significant improvement to my old machine. For a start we have the fact that, as its name suggests, it is comparatively silent. It would be impossible to make a shredder totally silent, due to the nature of the task of shredding itself. However the system employed by the ATCO is that of a fixed coil shredding system. In practice this is a spiral blade system, which is positioned at an angle and slowly draws in the material, then shredding into small chippings. The ATCO also can handle larger material. The literature provided with the machine states that it could take branches up to 35mm in diameter. I have not as yet tried it on such large branches, but know that it takes up to 30mm with no loss of performance whatsoever. As with all shredding and chopping machinery, safety is paramount and it is strongly recommended that you protect yourself with goggles and heavy-duty gloves at all times. In addition the ATCO shredder has several built in safety features such as an overload protection system and a facility to reverse the blades should a blockage occur. A full list of the features of the Atco Quiet Shredder 1800 are as follows: 1800 Watt motor Noise le
vel (LpA) 84 decibels Fixed coil cutting system Shredding speed 260rpm Material throughput 115kg/hr Non-recoil automatic feed Overload protection system Blockage release system Reverse running capability 5 metre cable with plug Working height adjustable 93cm or 98 cm Weight 24kg As I needed a new machine in somewhat of a hurry, I paid over £300 for my ATCO shredder, but having looked very carefully around the web, have come up with a tremendous price of £259. This can be found at www.lawnmowersdirect.co.uk and after looking at other offers in their pages, think an op on this site is called for. I am not saying that this is the best machine on the market, as obviously I have not tried them all, but as far as I am concerned, for the average sized garden, the ATCO 1800 Shredder is excellent value for money.
Excellent value for money, garden shredder