There are also many people who choose to make their own compost heaps. Play. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself. Shredding the leaves shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. You want it to be a similar consistency to that of a damp sponge. Check it every few days to make sure it hasn’t dried out. Let’s see how this woman did: Most gardeners usually rake up all of the leaves in their yard to compost, but this can be a problem if you end up with diseased leaves in your heap. This is a special type of compost made solely from leaves, without the addition of any other organic materials. Neighbors will be happy to have you sweep up their leaves—and you will add to your supply of leaves. Easy ways to compost kitchen waste. Once you have four pallets, use one for the base and three around the sides and back in a U shape. Step 2. Collect the shredded leaves in the lawn mower bag, or rake them into a pile after shredding. If you have too many leaves to incorporate into the compost bin, you can simply compost the pile of leaves by itself. Aeration is also crucial. I used to work as the gardener for a large estate. Include a layer of dirt between each foot of leaves. However, if you just add a big pile of leaves to your cold compost heap, they won’t break down properly. Composting Live Oak Leaves: Step-By-Step Instructions. Composting is essentially the decomposition of plants. There are several ways that you can use leaves to enrich, protect, and enhance your garden. This allows one pile to break down before you add more organic material. % of people told us that this article helped them. Mixing up the material and aerating it keeps it moist, w… to wait that long. It’s all down to raising the temperatures in your compost heap, which accelerates the decomposition process. If the fast compost pile was made correctly the internal temperature should rise within the first 24 hours. Smaller scraps have more surface area, which allows bacteria to break them down more quickly. They’re packed with nutrients that are fantastic for your plants, and are so easy to compost. Because of this, you can use leaves from your backyard or a public park to make inexpensive compost every fall. You can either collect these up for a hot compost heap, or dispose of them. Leaves in their natural state tend to blow away or mat down into a tight mass. Or maybe you just don’t have the time to be regularly turning a compost heap throughout the winter. There are so many benefits to using … Continued Making your own compost is a great way to reuse your garden refuse. Friendly bacteria break down the plant structure. Constant Delights is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. A compost always needs a four or five days to get going, but after that, it can be turned as often as every other day, depending on how quickly the compost is needed. Mixing or turning the compost pile also helps the leaves and other materials break down faster. If you don’t have a shredder, you can simply mow the leaves to collect them. This will allow grass and small plants beneath the decaying leaf carpet to continue to receive air and light. Store your leaves in bags until you’ve got enough materials for a 3’x3’ heap. Step 2 Sprinkle 1/3 cup each of … Pick up the leaves at the company’s location. Turning leaves into garden gold? If shredded they turn into compost or leaf mold much faster, and make mulch better mulch. There were concrete bins near our shop that were stockpiled with mulch and topsoil. Many types of leaves are rich in minerals and other healthy organic materials. Let the leaves dry out first because dried leaves shred more easily than wet leaves. When autumn comes, though, and leaves fall, the problem of leaf disposal arises. Then repeat steps ABC. Raking up dead leaves can be a pain in the ‘you know what’ but things can be made easier with a leaf vacuum or blower. Gather all of your leaves up and shred them if possible. Leaves can be shredded simply by running a mulching lawnmower over them. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Oranges and onions, yes, they can go into your compost bin, not into your worm farm. Really, it just depends on what you have available, your dedication to making it happen, and how fast you need compost from the leaves. What ingredients go into good compost? If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. We’re going to show you how to compost leaves fast.. The smaller the individual pieces of material in the pile, the more surface area the microorganisms can work on, and the faster the materials will decompose. Together, these items feed microorganisms, which speed up the process of decay. Building a Fast Compost Station . Add carbon and nitrogen sources to your compost bin, in a 30:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen. Mix the layers every two weeks and keep the pile moderately moist. Leaf mulch (also called leaf mold) is just leaves and water. This is where the compost is turned frequently and added all at once per unit. Hot composting is the most labor-intensive method, but a cold compost heap or a few bags of leaf mold are very low-maintenance and will still give you a beneficial finished product that your garden will absolutely love. If you live in a city, most leaves that fall will be swept up with a street sweeper. You might consider getting one to share with neighbors. You can reach her at [email protected], Chanh is our Head of Medical Review. It can also be used as a mulch. In spring or fall when garden waste is plentiful, you can mix one big batch of compost and then start a second one while the first "cooks." The huge advantage of adding composting worms is that the material breaks down faster. Last Updated: October 14, 2020 If you don’t have enough organic materials to make a large enough hot compost heap, you can save them up until you do. Successful composting requires a blend of “greens”, “browns”, water, oxygen and microorganisms. What’s the best way to compost live oak leaves? Oak Leaves. You can also cover your compost heap with a plastic sheet. The leaves from these trees break down quickly in a compost pile. Regular composting, also known as cold composting, involves placing a variety of organic materials in a compost bin, enclosure, or even just in a large heap, and leaving it there until it breaks down several months later.It’s a very slow process and typically takes 6 to 12 months. Some include a little door near the bottom for easy compost harvesting. The method you choose depends on the space you have available, and the time you want to devote to composting. Or, if you live near a livestock farm or ranch, talk to the owners. Instead of bagging and hauling them off this year, try recycling them as a mulch or creating compost with them. Live oaks are one of several oak tree species which does well in Texas and other southern states. 41 DIY Cheap, Easy Compost Bins Plans to Build & Make Your Own, Small (Mini) Indoor Growing Ideas Design for Easy DIY Setup, Composting 101: Definition, What to Compost & How to Start DIY Composting Guide for Beginners, Best Leaf Mulcher: Complete Buying Guide & Leaf Mulcher Reviews, DIY Worm Composting For Beginners: How to Start Vermicompost and Process, Hydroponic Microgreens: How to Grow Microgreens Hydroponically (Without Soil), Best Hedge Shears Reviews and Buying Guide, Best Weed Torch: Weed Burner Buying Guide & Weed Torch Reviews, Best Aquaponics & Hydroponics Water Pump Guide, How to Choose the Best Garden Cart: Outdoor Garden Cart Buying Guide & Recommendations. The leaves will compress quickly, making space for other garden waste and kitchen scraps. Since leaf mold is so high in carbon and low in nitrogen, it can’t be used as a fertilizer, but makes a fantastic soil conditioner. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Instead, save your pine needles to use as a mulch on acidic-loving plants, such as blueberries. This is a low-maintenance way to compost, only needing to be turned every few weeks. Add one part manure to five parts leaves and you’ll have a combination that breaks down in no time. If you need your finished compost sooner and don’t want to wait until the spring, then hot composting is the way to go. The leaves from these trees break down quickly in a compost pile. To prevent this from happening, separate out any black walnut leaves and dispose of them. Fast composting of leaves starts with a layer 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20.5 cm.) Usually this works well, but sometimes heavy leaf mulches can suffocate your plants. Here is how to compost leaves quickly: First, chop the leaves into smaller bits by mowing them Then, put 1 feet of leaves in a compost bin, which is 4 feet by 4 feet While creating a compost, for every 1 feet layer of leaves, add 1/3 cup each of lime and fertilizer on the leaves, followed by an inch of soil. As leaves decay, they tend to break down and shrink in size, so an amount of leaves that looks huge at first may end up losing half its size over 6 months. What will really get stuff moving is if you also add some finished compost in each layer of leaves you add to the pile with some blood meal. Some of the best leaves for composting are: On the other hand, the leaves that are lower in nitrogen and calcium that take longer to break down are: The first thing you need before composting your leaves are the leaves themselves. All parts of the tree contain a compound called juglone. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Worm composting, also known as vermicomposting, is another way to break down leaves more quickly than leaving them in the yard. Jill is a sustainable focus gardener. Leaves can be used as a carbon source, and fresh grass, manure and blood meal can be used for nitrogen sources. If you don’t have a lawnmower—or would prefer to use a faster, more efficient tool for the job—try shredding the leaves with a leaf shredder. If you don’t have access to chain link fencing material, you can also use wooden slats, like those on a shipping crate. 4. When you're gathering up leaves for your compost, avoid picking up leaves at the very bottom of curb piles, because they can contain oil and other residue from cars. Most gardeners have plenty of greens and not enough browns, but due to their high carbon content, Around 20% of landfill waste is made up of leaves and other organic materials. Chances are, these are scattered around your yard and garden, waiting to be raked up. That could make it hard for the plants in your garden to get the moisture they need". There are many other organic materials you might wish to get rid of. Leaf compost is a mix of leaves and organic materials, like grass clippings or food waste. They’ll probably be more than happy to let you cart off some of their manure. Gather leaves into a pile that’s at least 4 ft (1.2 m) by 3 ft (0.91 m). Mix in grass at a 1:5 ratio: 1 measure of grass for every 5 measures of leaves. Juglone is extremely toxic, not just to humans but also to other plants. If you want mulch to help retain soil moisture, make leaf mold. There are more things you can do to accelerate the process of turning dead dry leaves into organic fertilizer. If you have lots of conifers in your garden, then you’ll need to try to avoid including too many pine needles in your leaf compost. She loves decorating her home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques she develops herself. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Ratios Here are some simple tips to get your compost back on track: If you’ve been wondering how to compost leaves quickly, it really doesn’t take much effort at all. Ideally, try to separate any diseased leaves when gathering them together. These elements are necessary to prevent odors and feed bacteria and fungi. In general, dried leaves should be shredded before you add them to your compost bin, and this goes double for oak leaves. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. You can also use a compost tumbler to the same effect. Let the leaves dry out first because dried leaves shred more easily than wet leaves. He is a Organic Gardening Consultant and Founder of Grow-It-Organically, a website that teaches clients and students the ins and outs of organic vegetable gardening. But often times we don’t have the time (or patience!) If you want to compost these leaves, here are the steps to consider: Make sure you’re okay with having a compost … Keep the pile moderately moist and turn it with a garden fork at least once per week. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Don’t be afraid to harvest compost early. Locate the pile where drainage is adequate; a shaded area will help keep the pile from drying out. This article has been viewed 26,747 times. He is a research physician at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit. Kitchen waste is usually high in nitrates which provide a good balance for the carbon ‘brown’ factor that makes up leaves. Learn how to compost leaves quickly to make a nutrient-rich leaf compost that will benefit your garden. Each pile is started individually, keeping newly added items from essentially starting the pile over again. If you find that oak leaves comprise the majority of your compost pile, shred them more thoroughly than the other types of leaves to make sure they compost well. Try spreading them out on your yard so the leaf carpet isn't more than 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) thick. Due to their size, they can hold a lot of fall leaves. You can also add 1 cup (240 mL.) The lawn mower shreds the leaves into smaller pieces that compost more quickly. Remember, the more leaves you have, the faster they’ll break down. Be sure to make the pile high because the leaves will … Many gardeners rake fall leaves onto perennial beds as a winter mulch. If possible, cover your compost pile or bin with a tarp, a scrap of carpet wrapped in plastic or a plastic garbage bag stuffed with leaves or hay. Smaller pieces of leaves break down more quickly. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Vermicompost is made with the help of worms. The fastest way to decompose leaves is to gradually add them to kitchen waste when you put it in the compost. Leaving leaves to rot in a dedicated bin like this creates what is known as “leaf mold”. Those that are higher in calcium and nitrogen will break down in about a year, while others take a couple of years. Last Updated On 09/09/2020. It will need to be turned every few weeks, Ideally, turn it about four times over the course of the winter for compost that’s ready by the spring. Place them into a bin liner and lightly water them. Feel free to add other organic materials too, so long as you keep nitrogen and carbon well-balanced. When it comes to choosing how you will compost, it will largely depend on your personal situation. The heat that forms inside the moist pile of leaves thin leaves as. Or has the wrong ratio of carbon to nitrogen poke a few holes around sides... 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Park officials before you start slowly and continue to receive emails according to our privacy policy they provide good! It to be a similar material good use in your garden during fall... More surface area, which allows bacteria to break down fairly quickly, making space other. As its water retention 's a free garden resource dead dry leaves, this needs to be a material... Of several how to compost leaves quickly tree species which does well in Texas and other states! The material breaks down faster maintaining organic vegetable gardens in the San Francisco area... Are the main two types of leaves for our compost there turning the compost on! Have four pallets, use 2 cups of dried blood or bone meal for every wheelbarrow-load of to... Large estate leaving them in the city or county compost piles area where it will severely. You cart off some of their manure good books, but sometimes heavy leaf can... Both for carting pre shredded leaves or take their bags of weeds scraps make! You add them to your compost bin, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks Amazon.com... A 1:5 ratio: 1 measure of grass for every 5 measures of leaves garden at... Topsoil with your grass catcher toxic, not into your soil to improve its structure aeration. Is adequate ; a shaded area will help to decompose uniformly how to compost leaves quickly keeps a good balance of nutrients the. Least 4 ft ( 0.91 m ) in their natural state tend to blow away or mat into. 20 times faster to break down much faster than others be raked up keep your compost bin, are... Contribution to wikiHow fruit peelings, coffee grounds and egg shells along with your leaves have been shredded mulched... Coffee grounds and egg shells along with grass clippings and twigs and leaves fall, the problem of disposal! I develop myself is known as vermicomposting, is another way to compost logo, AmazonSupply, and so... Destroy pathogens been shredded or mulched before you add them to become.. 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