Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a courtyard garden. Which edibles will tolerate less than ideal growing conditions. Discovering how veggies can grow in partial shade.

Friday, November 20, 2015

How to Compost Leaves

 It is that time of year when you see piles of fallen leaves blowing around.  You can make good compost from them, but it is not quite as straightforward.  If you just pile up bags of dry, brown leaves then it really won't work.  Tree roots go deep into the ground and consequently they draw up all sorts of beneficial nutrients and minerals into the leaves, but the nutrients are not easily broken down without a knowledge of decomposition.  Like all compost you have to have a mixture of brown (carbon) and green ( nitrogen), as well as water and air.
 So the ideal way of collecting leaves is to put them on the lawn and then run a lawnmower over them.  Brown leaves have a woody substance called lignins, this makes them hard and woody and quite difficult to break down.  So if  you scrunch or chop the leaves with a lawn mower AND add fresh green grass clippings this is an ideal start for composting.  If you don't have any grass clippings this time of year then you can mix leaves with fresh horse manure to add nitrogen.
 I piled mine in some heavy duty bags, making sure they are well ventilated and moistened.  I will leave them in a shady corner of the garden all Winter and see if the worms can help turn it into compost.
Here's some I made earlier!   Looking forward to building my new raised beds next Spring.

3 Comments:

At 7:08 AM, Blogger Mark Willis said...

I have a leaf blower/sucker thing that shreds the leaves as it picks them up, which is very convenient. Only trouble is that it doesn't work well if the leaves are wet, because it gets clogged-up easily.

 
At 1:56 PM, Blogger Rob said...

People give me funny looks when I tell them I have been leaf harvesting.

 
At 5:01 PM, Blogger VP said...

I just pile them up on my beds as a winter mulch which works well.

 

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