Fall Gardening: How to Compost Leaves in 4 Steps

by on November 30, 2012


If you have a yard, this is the time of year that it is probably covered with leaves. If you are a gardener, those brown, red, and yellow mess makers are pure gold if you know how to make the most of them. Let’s take a look at how to compost leaves in just four simple steps:

1. Shred or grind your leaves.
No, this is not absolutely necessary, but when you are composting in an urban garden environment, chances are that you have space issues. Shredded leaves not only take up less space, they will compost much faster than their whole counterparts.

2. Add nitrogen.
Again, this is not a requirement, but adding nitrogen at a ratio of 1 part to 5 parts shredded leaves will result in faster composting and a more nutrient-rich end product.

3. Add water.
Moisture is an absolute necessity for composting. Too little moisture and your compost materials can get so hot in the center that they might catch fire. Too much moisture can cause your compost to stink, harboring mold and other nasty undesirables. As a rule of thumb, you want your composted leaves to have just enough moisture to be moist but not dripping wet.

4. Turn, Turn, Turn.
Whether you are composting leaves in the open air in a back corner of the yard or in a closed container, it is important that you turn your compost every 3-4 days. This aerates the compostable materials and helps to break up clumps, making the composting process happen faster.

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