The time has came to start composting leaves again. There are 10 large maple trees along the property line that drop lots of leaves. Last year was the first time that I started to compost them on site, previously I put them out for the city to compost. That turned out to be a pretty big mistake because leaves make some excellent compost for the garden. Here is how I went about composting leaves from last season:
To collect the leaves I used a mower with a bag attach, this really makes the process easy and mulches them up nicely. They then went into an open top bin were I compacted them down and watered well. The photo above shows them in early summer. They shrink down considerable over the winter and starting in the spring I start working them into compost. As the photo shows I dump out the bin and then rebuild with a mix of leaves and grass clippings, about 10 parts leaves and 1 part grass clippings. I did this 3 times this season and it did a good job of speeding the process along.
Now that it is time to start the process over I screened out the black gold making way for the new leaves. Last year I only collect leaves from the lawn and ended up with two big wheelbarrows worth of compost, about 12 cubic feet. The end produce was so nice this year I am collecting as many leaves as I can.
Here is a close up of the compost. It's about as good as it gets, airy, retains moisture well and is full of goodness. This was screened with my Compost Screen, a bit tedious to do but I think it is worth it. It removes sticks, stones and some maple roots that started invading the bin. This season I am putting landscape fabric down in hopes of keeping the trees from growing into the bin.
At this point about half the leaves have been collected and the rest are still on the trees. In a couple weeks they should be all down and in the bin. If I run out of bin space I am going to start storing them in leaf bags over the winter. By spring it should shrink down enough that they will all fit in the bin.
1 day ago