Super Fast Leaf Composting Trick
How to Compost Leaves
Compost enriches the nutrient content of garden soil and flower beds. It can be made inexpensively from tree leaves every fall. Follow these guidelines to gather and compost leaves in your back yard.
Choosing Composting Leaves
Rake up all the fruit tree leaves that you can find.These are the best leaves for a compost pile. They usually have higher mineral content than manure.
Limit the amount of oak leaves that you use in your compost pile.Keep it at 10 to 15 percent of your pile. Oak leaves contain more acid that other leaves, which can be poor compost for vegetable gardens.
Find and gather different kinds of leaves from your neighbors.If you only have a few types of trees on your property, visit heavily wooded sections of the town in late fall. Ask people you see raking if you can bag up leaves or take their bags of weeds.
- Most leaves in a city are swept up with a street sweeper. You can check the fall street sweeping schedule and go the day before to collect extra leaves from the curb.
- Try to avoid picking up the leaves at the very bottom of curb piles, because they can contain oil and other residue from cars.
- Call landscaping companies to ask if they give away leaves they gather. Pick up the leaves at the company’s location.
Rake all your leaves together into a section of your lawn.
Grind your leaves on the same day you plan to cut your lawn in the fall.The addition of grass clippings will save you time adding nitrogen later on.
Pile your leaves into a section of your lawn.Have 1 person pile the leaves while the other person grinds.
Grind the leaf pile with a manual mower.Self-propelled mowers are hard to control through a leaf pile.
Dump the bags of leaf mulch into a composting pile or rake up the leaf mulch.Leaves that are ground up will compost much more quickly than those that are whole.
Choosing a Compost Spot
Set up a chain link square in the corner of your yard.You can also use wooden slats, like those on a shipping crate. Either material will allow oxygen to get to your compost.
- If possible, build a swinging gate into 1 side of your compost bin. This opening will allow you to turn your compost more easily and to remove it when you want to use it.
Choose to set up a compost pile in the center of your garden.Compost, when done properly, takes about 6 months. You can start a compost pile in the fall and distribute it through the garden in the spring, before you plant.
Pile the compost in an area where it will not blow away.When you first start the pile, it will be loose and prone to blowing around the yard. Plan to cover the compost pile with a plastic tarp, if you cannot construct a container.
Make sure the compost pile is on an area of ground that will drain.Don’t place it on concrete or it will create standing water.
Mix approximately 20 to 25 percent nitrogen-rich materials into your compost.The easiest method is to use bags of grass clippings from your mower.
Buy or gather manure, if you don’t have grass clippings.
Throw in kitchen scraps, such as vegetable peels and coffee grounds.Avoid dairy, dense breads or meats.
Layer the leaves and the nitrogen addition.You should put several bags (3 to 5) of leaves on the pile, then add a bag of manure or grass clippings, vegetable scraps or manure.
Keep the pile moist.During dry weather, sprinkle it with a garden hose. Avoid creating standing pools of water, which can encourage mold.
- The compost should be damp enough that when you can pick up a handful of compost and squeeze, only a few drops of water drip out.
Wait approximately 1 to 3 weeks before you turn your compost the first time.The heat that forms inside the moist pile of leaves and clippings is often called “cooking.”
Use a shovel or a pitchfork to dig into the bottom to middle of the pile of compost and turn it.The top layer should be buried and the leaf compost should look fresh and wet on the top.
Turn the compost up to 3 times per week, or as little as once every 2 weeks.Frequent turning will make it cook faster.
Cover it with a plastic tarp to trap the heat inside the compost pile.You may need to add a little bit of water occasionally, but not very much, or it can also cause mold.
Combine your compost with your soil after 4 to 9 months.When the compost turns a uniform dark brown, you will know it is time to use it.
QuestionWhat can I do about ants and flies?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you're composting and getting ants and flies, then you probably have something sugary or some sort of meat in the pile. Leave that out to avoid such pests.Thanks!
Things You'll Need
Fruit tree leaves
Shovel or pitchfork
Sources and Citations
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