It’s still hot today, but before we know it, the deciduous trees and shrubs in our backyard will be dumping leaf litter all over our yards and gardens. Over the course of the autumn, residents everywhere will break out their various rakes and blowers and try to control the fallen leaf population.
But what is the best means of disposing of the piles and piles of leaves? Traditional options include bagging them up for the city to collect; another is to create a huge pile, first for kids to jump in, and then to burn, adding a delicious scent to the air that everyone associates with autumn months.
A third option may actually be one of the easiest, with the added benefit of enhancing the topsoil in your yard or garden. If composted with other yard or kitchen waste, those pesky leaves will break down, releasing nutrients that will enhance and enrich the soil.
From UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences:
“To compost leaves, gather them and make piles that consist of a layer of leaves about four-inches thick followed by a 1- to 2-inch layer of soil supplemented with organic kitchen wastes. These wastes can include items like vegetable peelings, food scraps (without meat or fat) and any sort of waste plant matter or grass clippings.
Your new compost pile can be as large or small as you like, but a pile 4x4x4 feet will have enough mass to remain warm and allow decomposition to take place throughout most of the winter. Make sure the pile is well watered and moist. The pile can be covered with an old tarp to prevent cooling off.”