The leaves are changing and falling to the ground at a rapid pace. It makes for a beautiful time of year, but also a mess on your lawn. Why not get rid of those falling leaves in a way that is great for landscaping in multiple ways. Compost bins are perfect for recycling those fall leaves into something that is actually GOOD for your lawn. Add the leaves, along with household food scraps, to your compost bin and it will be rapidly decomposed, creating some of the richest and most natural soil you have ever seen. It can then be returned to your lawn and garden, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Pine needles, grass clippings, kitchen waste, and even paper towels can also be added to your compost bin. Do something great for your lawn, your family, and your environment. You will get so much enjoyment in realizing that you are reducing your waste by turning it into a useful resource.
Composting your autumn leaves is the best way to dispose of them. Not only do you keep those leaves out of the landfill, but composting allows you to create nutrient-rich “black gold” that your garden plants will love. Here are a few tips on preparing your autumn leaves for the compost bin:
- Don’t bother shredding your leaves before you put them into the compost bin; whole leaves are better for compost.
- Autumn leaves are high in carbon, but low in nitrogen; for balance, add to your compost bin two parts fresh, green grass clippings or other green organic matter to one part leaves.
- Moisture is important for decomposition; be sure to add water to your compost initially, and then periodically check the moisture content to make sure that your compost is moist, but not soggy. Add water as needed.
Turning autumn leaves into spring compost doesn’t require much time or effort. If you prepare your compost properly, and check on it periodically over the late autumn and winter months, you should be able to look forward to using that compost when it comes time to plant your garden in late spring.
Overall, making your own compost is not only good for the environment, it’s good for your wallet because it saves you from having to buy compost from the local garden center.
Find out more about what can be put into the compost bin, and what should be left out: Composting Basics.
Looking for ways to update your garden? Why not add some elements to make it more environmentally friendly! Composters and rain barrels are both options that can add value, ease, and appeal to your gardening projects – all while protecting the environment and conserving valuable resources.
Composters are a must have for the environmentally friendly gardener! They provide an easy, green way to deal with organic waste by producing natural, nutrient rich compost for your plants. A three chamber variety is a popular choice in composters. In the first chamber, water, oxygen and heat help micro-organisms (fungi and bacteria) break down the raw material. Kitchen waste, such as fruits and vegetables pieces, and yard waste, such as grass clippings and leaves, are both great options to add to your composter. In the cooler middle and bottom chambers, macro-organisms (worms and invertebrates) work to further break down material to mulch and, finally, compost. You can produce up to 10 gallons of compost every month! That provides savings on fertilizer and an opportunity to recycle.
Recycling is also an important factor in adding a rain barrel to your garden setup. Rain barrels are designed to collect and store rain water for later use in your garden or around your home. It is estimated that residential irrigation can account for up to 40% of consumption in many cities across the US. Collecting free, clean, rain water can drastically decrease the high demand for domestic water, with savings of up to 13,000 gallons during summer months! A 60 gallon rain barrel can fill up in approximately twenty minutes during a normal rain fall and multiple barrels can be linked together to increase storage capacity.
What do you do with all of those pesky leaves once you’ve raked them from your lawn? This situation creates a yearly dilemma for many people because yard waste, including autumn leaves, makes up for about 20 percent of what is dumped into our landfills. Tossing those leaves into the trash is not something that most homeowners wish to do. Some communities, mine included, allow homeowners to burn yard waste. This is neither a healthy or environmentally safe option. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Burning leaves and other yard wastes pollutes the air and can lead to uncontrolled fires. Leaf smoke can make breathing difficult for people who suffer from asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or allergies.”
Alternatively, some communities offer yard waste recycling, which is the best option, but it is not always ideal. In my own community, we are only permitted to put out two yard waste bags each week for pick up. We don’t have a forest of trees in our yard, but the few that we do have shed enough leaves to fill at least six or eight yard waste bags. The challenge is finding space in our garage to store the full bags until the next time yard waste is picked up.
Another way to recycle those fallen leaves is to compost them. Composting leaves, along with other yard waste and kitchen scraps, not only helps to get rid of a messy problem, but provides valuable mulch — for free — that can be used to cover and protect garden beds over the winter months. Many compost bins can be used year-round, too, so over the winter, you can “stock up” on mulch to use when spring comes around again.
Did you know that nearly 20% of all waste in an average landfill is yard waste? If you are throwing away your grass clippings, then you are missing out on a valuable resource.
A compost bin decomposes grass clippings and plant material to produce compost in just a few weeks. This process allows you to reap the benefits of recycling from your own backyard with very little effort.
“Compost” is the rich black soil-like substance created when organic materials like shredded leaves and yard waste are fully decomposed. Mulching with compost prevents weeds, feeds your garden, fights disease and doesn’t starve plants or stain your house with fungal spores like wood mulches.
The rewards from composting are numerous and having access to your own “mulch” is a big one. Tell your neighbors and friends how easy it is to use a composter. They will thank you later.