As summer fades many gardeners hang up the trowel saying goodbye to the garden for another year - but there are still gardening tasks to be done. One of the best things you can do for your garden is taking the time to add fall goodies to your compost bin. I’m talking about those heaps of leaves that blanket the lawn and garden this time of year.
Rake leaves in a pile. If your lawn and yard looks like mine, you may want to enlist the help of family members with this chore.
Shred the leaves. Don’t worry. You don’t really need a leaf shredder for this task. Running over them a few times with the lawn mower makes quick work of this job and prepares the leaves for adding to the compost pile. Although they don’t need to be shredded and will decompose on their own – shredded leaves break down quicker in the compost pile.
Layer dried leaves and green material in the compost pile. Even though may have an abundance of dried leaves for the compost pile, don’t forget that you need green materials – like veggie scraps, coffee grounds and grass clippings- to keep the pile working. Aim for equal amounts of wet and dry materials, as your compost pile needs both to decompose properly.
Sprinkle with Fertilizer. If your compost pile is mostly leaves and dry material, you can speed decomposition by adding a thin layer of fertilizer. This introduces nitrogen to the pile and starts the decomposition process.
Water your compost pile. Organic matter needs water to decompose. Wet down the pile with the hose to get things going and keep the pile moist.
Don’t forget to turn the pile. Turning and mixing the pile gets oxygen to the center of the pile and speeds decomposition. If your pile is slimy or smelly, it needs more oxygen.