Creating Compost From Leaves Is Not Hard To Do And It Saves Money
Let me show you how easy it is to turn your yard waste into compost so you can stop paying for it every year.
Often times we overlook gold just because it’s dirty or too grimy of a job but why buy city compost when you can make it yourself.
It’s that time of year when the leaves have already turned colour and a there’s a good splattering over most people’s lawns that have fallen.
So is now the time to save some money?
Sure it is and here’s what I do to save me some money come spring so I can use my garden budget for other purchases.
What is Compost?
Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed in a process called composting. This process recycles various organic materials otherwise regarded as waste products and produces a soil conditioner. Compost is rich in nutrients. Wikipedia
Raking The Leaves For Compost
What do I do to save me money in the Fall? I take what I have and turn it into gold.
Every year I collect up the leaves from the trees in plastic bags, wet them, and tie them up with a couple of holes punched in the sides.
I personally store them to over winter down the side of the house (mainly because my compost heap is already full), you could start compost heap number 2 if you like depending on the size of your garden.
In the spring I’ll empty out roughly two-thirds of the compost bin for use around the garden, pots and baskets.
I’ll then re-fill the compost bin with the leaves from the garbage bags interspersed with other roughage.
The half rotten mixture will take no time at all to rot down once the weather warms up and you’ll have gorgeous soil.
Purpose Of Bagging Leaves
Why should you put leaves in plastic garbage bags?
The reason I don’t throw the leaves away in brown yard waste bags is the number of nutrients they’ll add back into the garden for next year.
If you’re able to grow your own vegetables or just like gardening then you’ll appreciate the benefits of recycling waste products from not only your garden but also your house.
We try to throw as many fruit and veg odds and ends in the compost bin rather than the “green bin” as it will add “Free” goodness to the garden.
If you’ve got a wood burning stove or fireplace you can add the cold ashes to the heap too. Just remember that ashes will be high in calcium carbonate so they will reduce the acidic level of the soil.
If you’re unsure what type of soil you’ve got then get a test kit. I already know that my soil is on the acidic side due to the fact that the Rhododendron is growing like a weed and the Hydrangea has a blue hue in the flowers.
Have you just finished taking your yearly hanging baskets apart?
Here’s what you do now.
Take the compost and annuals and throw them back into the compost bin/heap.
The soil was dark and fertile, probably because her house was a Victorian semi and over the 90-year life span everything bio-degradable was thrown onto the garden.
When the city compost truck comes to collect your leaves or even your green organic bin on weekly basis what do you think they do with it?
They might not use it themselves but they do sell it, why?
Someone’s making money from it, how?
The let it rot down and sell it back to you in a bag, how’s that for a money-maker.
Yes, that city compost you buy is from the leaves you give them which they sell to a company.
Smart isn’t it?
Oh, and we also pay the city workers to pick up the leaves that we buy back.
Beautiul Dark Soil Made In Your Compost Bin
Sure, you can buy soil for $0.99 a bag but it’s terrible, trust me I’ve bought it and regretted it.
What I get from the compost heap is top quality well-rotted compost that would cost you $4.00-$5.00 a bag but I get it for free.
I got inspired by a man called Alan Titchmarsh who’s a horticulturist and ran a TV program on the BBC (The Beeb) called “Gardeners World” but he also went back to basics to teach/inspire a new younger generation with another TV show.
How To Make Good Garden Compost
His ingredients for a good garden compost are:
- Annual weeds
- Tops of Perennial Weeds
- Spent bedding plants (annual flowers that have finished)
- Uncooked vegetable peelings, crushed eggshells and teabags
- Grass clippings (they’ll add nitrogen)
- Soft hedge trimmings, soft prunings and spent flowers (from the dead heading)
- Dead Leaves
- Shredded woody stems
- Shredded paper, cotton, and wool fabrics
I probably wouldn’t throw in meat, fish, and other cooked foods for fear of being invaded by the ubiquitous raccoon.
Don’t get me wrong the furry guy will love you to death, but your neighbours are going to be more than mildly annoyed.
For a new compost heap/bin you can also add a couple of shovelfuls of fresh manure from either sheep or horse to get it started.
Once you’ve got it going, just keep adding waste and water to keep it wet, if it dries out (especially in the summer) it will stop.
Collecting Rain Water
I usually add water from the rain barrel as rainwater is a natural source of nitrates (a form of nitrogen) required by plants to grow.
An alternative to adding nitrogen to your compost is adding nettles.
Nettles are native to North America as well as Europe and Asia.
Hard Work Equals Big Savings
If you use a rake, because rakes are cheaper than leaf blowers and they cost zero to operate, you’ll get some exercise out of the deal too. A bit of hard work is always more beneficial than convenience.
“There is no substitute for hard work” Thomas Alva Edison…yes, the inventor.
There’s an old saying from northern England that’s quite appropriate at this point, “Where’s there’s muck there’s brass“…put quite simply, where’s there’s crap there’s money!
Discussion: Do you compost your leaves in the Fall? Leave me your comments below.