Composting Fall Leaves

Fall is a beautiful time of year with the cool temperatures and fall colors that abound in the region.

However, fall means just that; leaves need to be removed from your lawn as they fall. You can either mulch them on the lawn or you can compost them in an easily constructed compost bin right in your own landscape. Actually, I like the combination of the two. When you can't mulch all the leaves with the mower, it's time to consider composting. Constructing a compost bin is simple and easy and only takes three metal fence posts and some wire netting like poultry netting. Pound the three fence posts in the ground in a three foot diameter circle. Then take the poultry netting that you can purchase at any farm supply store and wrap it around the inside of the posts. Secure the wire to the posts. Simple wasn't it? Now for the leaves, you want to run over the leaves on the lawn with a mower to shred the leaves creating more leaf surface area for better leaf decomposition. Put about 1 foot layer of shredded leaves in the bin followed by 1 cup of garden fertilizer. Now, if you have some grass clippings, throw them in also. It's the nitrogen in the fertilizer that keeps the composting process going. Add water and mix the first layer, then add another layer of leaves and fertilizer mixing as well as possible. Now, when you have the first bin complete, start another one. Yep, I said another bin. The reasoning here is that you need to turn the compost pile say every 2 months and its better to be able to throw the first pile into the second. Just make sure to keep the material in the compost pile moist all through the winter or anytime you are making compost. If you start a compost pile now, you can have rich compost by spring that you can use to mulch with or add to existing soil.

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