There’s a good reason why gardening enthusiasts refer to compost as “black gold.” Compost is even better than manure, since – being made from plants – it contains the elements plants need, such as magnesium, phosphorus and nitrogen.
Composting leaves makes sense for several reasons, as opposed to simply bagging them up and tossing them in the trash. If you want a productive garden or even a greener lawn, composting is the way to go.
How to Make Rich Compost
The Best Leaves to Use: Although leaves may look the same, the trees that turn color in the autumn and shed their leaves in winter are the best. Maple, birch, ash, beech and virtually any kind of native fruit tree contain a good amount of fibrous, plant-nutritious materials. Even fallen pine needles have value.
Oak leaves, perhaps surprisingly, should be avoided or used sparingly. These leaves tend to be acidic, and too many of them in compost can produce results that are actually bad for garden or vegetable plants.
Grinding Leaves: You start by shredding or grinding the gathered leaves. Shredding them not only helps the process, it makes the material easier to handle. You can start by getting a good chipper. This will make short work of the leaves as well as any twigs or branches that are gathered up along with them.
Add Nitrogen: Composting leaves requires nitrogen. This could also come from other organic waste such as manure, garbage, green weeds and grass clippings. You could also buy bulk bags of nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Use any combination of these materials in no more than a one-to-three proportion of nitrogen to leaves.
Mix the Pile: Turn the compost in the pile about every three weeks until planting time. Be sure to keep the mass of composting leaves piled together, as the process takes place mostly in the moist, warm center of the pile. Regular turning also keeps it from settling into a solid mass, while the mix and aeration is good for the natural composting process.
Keep it Moist: A level of moisture that keeps the compost wet, but not soggy, is important. You may want to water compost when turning the pile if it seems dry. Many people will cover their compost with a plastic sheet to help trap the moisture.
One Stop Rental has a variety of lawn and garden tools to help you with composting leaves and make your yard work easier. With two locations in northern Cincinnati, we’re a family-business that been providing the right tools to contractors and home DIY projects since 1993. Our shredder is a rugged, powerful Vermeer chipper with a 25 hp motor and a 4″ opening, big enough to handle any yard waste.
We also sell used equipment when available, as well as rental tools at affordable rates. Give us a call to find out how our equipment can help you.