Cathy Isom gives you important tips about how to make a quick compost with all of those autumn leaves. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
Leaf compost is a great way to use fallen leaves. A good leaf for composting has high nitrogen and calcium levels but low lignin levels, as this ratio breaks down faster. Some top options are maple, elm, ash, poplar, willow and fruit trees.
For a good compost made with leaves, it is very important to shred them before mixing them into the pile. Just run over them a few times with the lawn mower. Next add something nitrogen-rich to the mix. Food scraps from the kitchen, manure, and coffee grinds -including the paper filter can all be tossed in. The ultimate goal is to have one-part green for every five-parts leaf, also known as the carbon or “brown” component. Lastly, to create a compost pile, it is very important to pile it. Anything less than a cubic yard simply is not large enough to get to the temperatures necessary for quick composting. In reality, it’s better to actually make heaps larger than this, closer to two cubic yards.
Layer the green and brown components, and water each brown layer as things stack up. After that, it’s a matter of a little maintenance. Compost needs to be moist and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. The other thing is to turn it. Turning adds oxygen, which reinvigorates the decomposition. A compost always needs 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. If turned regularly, some composts can actually be ready in under a month.
I’m Cathy Isom…