Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Simple Method for Composting Leaves

Autumn is my favorite season. Warm sweaters, perfect camping weather, Halloween, and, of course, an abundance of wonderful, compostable leaves.

I know… I can almost hear you sigh as the leaves blanket your yard in crunchy, brown work. But cheer up! Gathering those leaves now will make composting the rest of the year a breeze.

Step One: Shred

Whether you prefer the old fashioned serenity of a leaf rake or the instant satisfaction of a turbo blast leaf blower, your leaves will end up in a giant pile. These leaves will decompose faster if you shred them into little bits.

Run them over with a lawnmower or attack them with a weed eater if you can. Maniacal laughter is optional.

Step Two: Hoard

Pile all the shredded leaves into a bin (wood, wire, plastic, whatever). You may need multiple bins if you have a lot of trees or if you choose to “borrow” leaves from your neighbors. Just make sure the containers are at least 3 feet by 3 feet in size.

Step Three: Dig

Now you have the base of a pile with a bunch of carbon to which you can add food scraps throughout the year. Just keep a hand rake or small shovel next to the bin and bury the food scraps in the leaves as you create them.

The act of digging in the food scraps adds air and adds nitrogen to the pile which will make the leaves decompose more quickly.

The Shred-Hoard-Dig method of composting will create finished compost at a slower pace than the traditional method of adding leaves as you go. You may also feel a bit like a squirrel burying little bits of treasure in your backyard.

But a wise woman once said- “Tis better to behave like a fuzzy squirrel now than hunger for leaves in the summer.”

Okay, that was just me, but you get the idea. Happy Autumn Composting, everyone!