Wondering what to do with all those fall leaves sitting in your yard? Autumn is the perfect time to begin composting. It provides a useful and environmentally conscious alternative to bagging up your leaves as waste. The leaves you take from your yard and compost this fall can help beautify your yard and garden in future seasons and help save money on fertilizers. Composting allows decomposed materials to be reused as a nutritious supplement for your garden, lawn, and house plants. A variety of materials may be used for composting, including leaves, grass, weeds, and some kitchen scraps.
To get started, you can buy a composter, or make your own composting bin. A garbage can with holes poked in the bottom for drainage can work wonderfully.Keep the compost material moist, but not wet, and add other items like grass clippings, shrub trimmings, vegetable scraps, manure, coffee grounds, egg shells and tea leaves. Each item adds beneficial amounts of carbon and/or nitrogen which provide raw materials for making beneficial enzymes and adding nutrients to your soil. Keep your compost covered to retain moisture and warmth and turn it occasionally to aerate.
Do not compost meat, bones or fish scraps (they will attract pests), perennial weeds (they can be spread with the compost) or diseased plants. Do not include pet manures in compost that will be used on food crops.
The composting process takes between four and nine months to complete. Your colorful fall leaves will soon be a dark and crumbly material with an earthy odor. When the season changes to fall once again, use your compost as winter mulch or add it to garden soil to help get your soil ready for spring planting.