Some include a little door near the bottom for easy compost harvesting. If you end up with huge piles of leaves in your garden each year, don’t let them go to waste! If you live in a city, most leaves that fall will be swept up with a street sweeper. Creating The Pile – Shred Those Leaves! Composting is essentially the decomposition of plants. Leaves in their natural state tend to blow away or mat down into a tight mass. Keep the pile moderately moist and turn it with a garden fork at least once per week. It’s dark in color and looks just like regular compost. The sheet will also reduce water evaporation and keep your heap moist, but it would still be worth giving your compost some water each time you lift the sheet to turn it. Go ahead and give it a read. Spread the dry leaves out in a 1- to 2-inch-thick layer. 4. Smaller pieces of leaves break down more quickly. “Greens” are soft, young materials that decompose quickly, such as grass clippings, animal manure, non-greasy kitchen waste and most garden waste. All compost bins, or heaps need a balance of materials that: are high in nitrogen, such as blood & bone or chook manure, contain carbon, such as dried leaves or shredded newspapers, and; contain both carbon & nitrogen, such as kitchen scraps, pea straw and green garden prunings. There are also many people who choose to make their own compost heaps. Kitchen waste is usually high in nitrates which provide a good balance for the carbon ‘brown’ factor that makes up leaves. Pat Browne and Steve Masley of Grow it Organically say: "If you use waxy leaves in your compost bin, your compost will shed water, rather than retaining it. If you don’t have enough organic materials to make a large enough hot compost heap, you can save them up until you do. Leave it to mature for a few weeks before using it. Depending upon the size of the compost pile that you’re planning to create, you’ll need a large amount of leaves. The fastest way to decompose leaves is to gradually add them to kitchen waste when you put it in the compost. By composting your leaves, you’ll be. Really, it just depends on what you have available, your dedication to making it happen, and how fast you need compost from the leaves. Dry leaves and paper (wet). How to Make Compost Quickly. How to Compost Leaves Firstly, shred or grind the leaves. You can encourage this natural cycle in your own garden by minimising the amount of plant matter you discard, returning it instead to the soil. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Let the leaves dry out first because dried leaves shred more easily than wet leaves. This allows one pile to break down before you add more organic material. All compost bins, or heaps need a balance of materials that: are high in nitrogen, such as blood & bone or chook manure, contain carbon, such as dried leaves or shredded newspapers, and; contain both carbon & nitrogen, such as kitchen scraps, pea … I also like the idea of those reusable leaf bags both for carting pre shredded leaves to your shredder and storing the results. Once you’ve built your heap, wait for 4 days and then turn it. You might consider getting one to share with neighbors. Gardening does not have to cost a fortune. In spring or fall when garden waste is plentiful, you can mix one big batch of compost and then start a second one while the first "cooks." If so, we have an article to help you with that. They aerate heavy clay soils, prevent sandy soils from drying out too fast, soak up rain and check evaporation. This compost has a relatively low nutrient value, but an excellent fibrous structure close to pure humus. Leaves of all sorts are a great material to add to your compost bin, though they might need a bit of preparation for fast composting. Add water to moisten the dry leaves, but don't allow them to become soggy. Learn how to compost leaves quickly to make a nutrient-rich leaf compost that will benefit your garden. Bins retain some warmth and moisture and make better compost more quickly, but even an open heap (not enclosed in a bin) will compost eventually. Worm farms and traditional compost bins are the main two types of compost systems. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. These leaves should never be added to your compost. No spam, notifications only about new products, updates. Here are some simple tips to get your compost back on track: If you’ve been wondering how to compost leaves quickly, it really doesn’t take much effort at all. This is a low-maintenance way to compost, only needing to be turned every few weeks. While it’s possible to compost diseased leaves, this needs to be done using a hot composting technique. Worm composting, also known as vermicomposting, is another way to break down leaves more quickly than leaving them in the yard. When you first start the pile, it will be loose and prone to blowing around the yard. This will help to keep your heap warm, which will speed up the decomposition process. If high winds are a concern in your area, place the compost pile in an area where it will not blow away. Oranges and onions, yes, they can go into your compost bin, not into your worm farm. Compost enriches the nutrient content of garden soil and flower beds, and allows you to re-use food scraps and other organic items that would otherwise go to waste. If you want to make compost fast with leaves – you need to shred them. In 2007 and 2008, Steve taught the Local Sustainable Agriculture Field Practicum at Stanford University. ... the compost should be ready more quickly. Friendly bacteria break down the plant structure. Got too many leaves to add to your compost heap? You want it to be a similar consistency to that of a damp sponge. The method you choose depends on the space you have available, and the time you want to devote to composting. Feel free to add other organic materials too, so long as you keep nitrogen and carbon well-balanced. Avoid adding dairy products, dense breads, or meats to your compost pile. Collect leaves from the lawn using a rotary mower, as this not only shreds the leaves and hastens rotting but also adds grass clippings, so increasing the nutrient value of the leafmould. The leaves may start to break down in the bag, but this isn’t a problem – it will speed up the decomposition process once you do get around to using them. Although compost is a great way to increase the organic content of soil, it doesn’t quite have the same nutritional value as a store-bought fertilizer. Together, these items feed microorganisms, which speed up the process of decay. The leaves from these trees break down quickly in a compost pile. Pick up the leaves at the company’s location. Hot composting is the most labor-intensive method, but a cold compost heap or a few bags of leaf mold are very low-maintenance and will still give you a beneficial finished product that your garden will absolutely love. Smaller pieces of leaves break down more quickly. Don’t do anything permanent – you’ll be removing them later. Mix 1 part manure with 5 parts leaves. If you don't have room in your garden to build a compost pile of leaves, you could also rake them together and let them compost more or less where they've fallen. Josh demonstrates a method to successfully compost gum leaves. If you can't find many leaves on your and your neighbors' lawns, call landscaping companies to ask if they give away leaves they gather. The leaves of all deciduous trees make good leaf mould, but some break down more quickly than others. The broken and torn edges created from shredding help to decompose the leaves quickly. This involves adding other components which complement leaves to make for a good balance. When autumn comes, though, and leaves fall, the problem of leaf disposal arises. Chances are, these are scattered around your yard and garden, waiting to be raked up. B. Gather all of your leaves up and shred them if possible. Bagging leaves to go to the landfill is a waste of landfill space and a waste of a free garden resource. Shredded sticks and other dried material like wood chips and corn stalks will help your compost develop quickly by aiding aeration but may not decompose completely themselves. Most gardeners have plenty of greens and not enough browns, but due to their high carbon content, Around 20% of landfill waste is made up of leaves and other organic materials. Instead, they’ll form a thick mat that prevents water from entering into your compost heap while also inhibiting how your compost breathes. If the pile is dry, cool, or has the wrong ratio of nutrients, it cannot do its work efficiently. Remember, the more leaves you have, the faster they’ll break down. Alternatively, you can make a bin for your leaf mold out of chicken wire or a similar material. The huge advantage of adding composting worms is that the material breaks down faster. Gather leaves into a pile that’s at least 4 ft (1.2 m) by 3 ft (0.91 m). You can check the fall street sweeping schedule and go the day before to collect extra leaves from the curb. I know this isn't what you want to hear, but the fastest (in terms of their rotting down) and tidiest way to compost leaves is actually to bag them up - if they're wet already, all the better, if not, wet the contents, tie the tops shut, poke two or three holes in the bottom of the bags and stand them out of the way somewhere to rot down over time. If you find that oak leaves comprise the majority of your compost pile, shred them more thoroughly than the other types of leaves to make sure they compost well. Mixing up the material and aerating it keeps it moist, w… Steve Masley has been designing and maintaining organic vegetable gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years. By shredding them before creating your pile, you will speed up decomposition 10 to 20 times faster. Check it every few days to make sure it hasn’t dried out. If you rake together a leaf pile that’s much smaller than 4 feet (1.2 m) across and 3 feet (0.91 m) tall, it won’t generate sufficient heat internally to kill off weeds and disease-causing organisms. Because of this, you can use leaves from your backyard or a public park to make inexpensive compost every fall. A compost always needs a four or five days to get going, but after that, it can be turned as often as every other day, depending on how quickly the compost is needed. Use the attached bag on the mower to gather the shredded leaves or rake them into a large pile after mowing. Leaves will decompose into compost more quickly if they are shredded before being placed in a compost bin. If you want to make your garden plants thrive, … The weed eater will chew your leaves up within a few minutes. Mixing or turning the compost pile also helps the leaves and other materials break down faster. All parts of the tree contain a compound called juglone. Don’t wait for them to finish. Leaf mold on its own is a useful gardening product and produces compost with a fine structure. The leaves will compress quickly, making space for other garden waste and kitchen scraps. Turning leaves into garden gold? Or maybe you just don’t have the time to be regularly turning a compost heap throughout the winter. In order to speed up the leaves’ decaying process, try grinding them up using a shredder or lawnmower. However, if you just add a big pile of leaves to your cold compost heap, they won’t break down properly. "This is the most vivid explanation regarding making leaf compost I've ever come across.". Place a piece of carpet or plastic over the top of the pile to help trap the heat produced by the pile. Not every ingredient in your pile will decompose at the same rate. In this article, I’m going to provide you with a primer on how to compost with leaves. Place them into a bin liner and lightly water them. Turning it into compost will be greatly beneficial for your garden plants and your garden as a whole. Composting Leaves. Even better, it's a free resource if you have deciduous trees that drop a lot of fall leaves. Keep the bag in a well-ventilated location for one to two years. In a traditional compost pile, they take a long time to break down. Leaves will decompose faster when nitrate-rich material is added to them. Leaves are just one thing that might appear in your garden during the fall. This means that you’ll need to add nitrogen-rich materials to your compost heap along with your leaves. You’ll also need to make sure that your leaves have been shredded or mulched before you add them to your compost heap. Shredding your leaves before you create your pile is a must for making quick compost. Learn how to compost leaves quickly to make a nutrient-rich leaf compost that will benefit your garden. Make sure that you mix everything thoroughly to prevent the leaves from clumping together. If possible, cover your compost pile or bin with a tarp, a scrap of carpet wrapped in plastic or a plastic garbage bag stuffed with leaves or hay. Fast composting of leaves starts with a layer 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20.5 cm.) Hot composting is a fast aerobic process (uses oxygen), so given volume of compost materials produce almost the same volume of finished compost. Shredded sticks and other dried material like wood chips and corn stalks will help your compost develop quickly by aiding aeration but may not decompose completely themselves. In general, dried leaves should be shredded before you add them to your compost bin, and this goes double for oak leaves. Small thin leaves such as birch break down fairly quickly, while large leathery ones such as chestnut benefit from being shredded first. Compost can add great value to leaves so this is one important use for old leaves in your garden. 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