Why not compost them. Leaves are a natural energy source and provide high levels of nutrients to your garden plants once composted. Even if you were to just pile shredded leaves up and let them sit over winter, a layer of compost at the bottom of the pile would greet you come spring. Here are some tips to help you on your way to creating a rich organic compost to feed your garden next spring.
- Shred your leaves, whole leaves prevent air and water from circulating throughout the pile. Use a chipper/shredder, leaf blower that has a reverse âvacuumâ options or a bagging lawn mower. Double shredding is even more helpful as the smaller pieces will decompose at a faster rate.
- Adding nitrogen to your compost pile will help move along the process much faster. A ratio of 4 parts leaf waste to 1 part green waste provides you with an optimum decomposition rate. Non-meat kitchen waste, including tea bags, coffee grounds and eggshells help make up the green waste. Coffee grounds and lawn clippings are both great sources of nitrogen and they also add moisture to the mix. Be careful not to add lawn clippings that have been treated with herbicides as the resulting compost may potentially kill plants next spring.
- The more chopped up everything is the faster your pile will transform into rich black compost. Also mixing and turning the pile will facilitate the process.
- Adding a chimney in the middle of your compost pile will allow air and water to flow throughout the whole pile. Create a chimney by rolling flexible wire fencing into a tube, making sure it will be tall enough to extend above the top of your pile.
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