We all know the feeling. You’ve just finished raking up your yard and are ready to remove the leaves, but where do you put them?
It’s so tempting to dump them in the trash, but that’s not an option if you care about the environment. So what’s the ideal thing to do with those leaves?
Maybe you’ve heard about composting but don’t know how to compost leaves or how much work it will be. And if you’re in an apartment or condo building, there may be no communal compost bins available for everyone to use.
Well, we’re here to help! We’ll show you how to compost leaves in different ways. But before that, let’s know why you should compost leaves instead of just dumping them out.
Why should you compost leaves?
Composting leaves is one of the easiest, most effective ways to keep your garden green and healthy. Here’s why!
- It’s free!
- Leaves are a perfect base for compost because they’re high in nitrogen, which helps plants grow quickly.
- They also contain carbon, which helps plants grow more slowly, so you can use them to balance out your compost pile’s nitrogen levels.
- Leaves also provide structure to your compost pile.
- It helps to retain moisture as it breaks down and makes it easier for worms and other organisms to break down the material. Leaves are also a good source of food for many insects, which helps attract beneficial bugs to your garden.
- You can use your finished compost as mulch in your garden.
- Leaves make great soil conditioners!
What do you need in composting leaves?
Before you start composting leaves, here’s what you need to prepare.
Lots and lots of leaves. The more, the better. Try to collect them all at once, so they don’t dry out during winter.
- Bags or containers
You’ll want something to hold the leaves until you’re ready to use them. We recommend using bags, but any container will do if you don’t have any on hand.
- Composting bin
A composting bin can help speed up the decomposition process and keep your compost from getting too smelly in the meantime.
How to compost leaves using a bin or pile?
Although it’s not the most glamorous of topics, composting leaves is a great way to go green and reduce your waste. It’s simple and easy and can help you create wonderful soil for your garden or just make your yard look a little less sad.
Here are the things you need on how to compost leaves.
- Put a layer of leaves in your compost bin.
- Add some soil and any other organic material you might have, such as small twigs, pine needles, etc.
- Keep adding soil and other organic material until the pile is about three feet high and wide.
- Wrap the pile with a tarp or other covering to keep it dry while it composts.
- Turn over the pile every week so that it will break down faster!
How to compost leaves if you don’t have a compost bin?
Here’s how to compost leaves without a bin.
- Gather all your leaves together in one place and make sure they’re dry. This will help them break down quickly and keep them from rotting before you can use them as fertilizer.
- Spread the leaves across a large tarp or other newspaper sheeting so they’re covered with an inch of space between each leaf.
Use your hands to separate any clumps, so they’re spread out evenly across the surface area.
Then cover everything with another sheeting layer, ensuring there’s still plenty of air circulation underneath by leaving gaps between each piece of plastic sheeting so that air can flow through freely.
- Finally, put the entire system outside where it will get lots of sun and rainwater over time!
How to compost leaves faster?
The first process we talked about takes several weeks, so if you’re looking for something quicker, here’s what you can do.
- Try shredding the leaves before adding them to your pile of other yard waste.
- Once you’ve shredded your leaves, add them to your compost pile and other items like grass clippings and vegetable scraps.
- You can also add kitchen waste like coffee grounds and eggshells.
- You’ll want your pile to be at least three feet high.
- Make sure it’s moist enough that water seeps out from between the material when you press down on it but not so wet that it’s dripping wet.
Shredding will speed up decomposition by exposing more surface area and allowing microbes access to more nutrients.
Tips on how to compost leaves quickly
Composting is a nice and simple way to turn your leaves into a nutrient-rich soil additive, but it can take a while. If you want to get the job done quickly, try these tips.
- Use a large compost pile. This will make it easier for air to circulate through your leaves and speed up the decomposition process.
- Add nitrogen-rich materials like newspaper, cardboard, or chopped-up vegetable scraps to your compost pile. This will help break down your leaves faster!
- Water your compost pile occasionally so that it doesn’t dry out and slow down the breakdown of your leaves.
Things you shouldn’t do when composting leaves
Composting is a wise way to reduce your environmental impact, but it can be easy to get off track. So, here are a few things you shouldn’t do when composting leaves.
- Don’t use diseased or insect-infested leaves
- Don’t use leaves from your yard that include grass clippings or other non-leafy matter. This will make it take longer to decompose.
- Don’t add meat or dairy products to the pile. These can attract pests and attract animals.
- Don’t compost leaves if they’re wet
- Don’t mix fresh leaves with dry leaves or old composted leaves with fresh ones. That can lead to anaerobic bacteria growth and the creation of ammonia gas, which can harm plants.
- Don’t add anything else that has been treated with chemicals or pesticides.
Composting leaves requires patience!
So there you have it, a guide to composting leaves.
If you’re looking for a way to get rid of your leaves and make them into something useful, look no further. Composting leaves is a great way to use all that residue from your yard and garden in a way that benefits our planet, too!
Remember to take your patience with you once you start waiting for your composted leaves because it’s a waiting game!