Autumn leaves falling from the trees are very valuable for your garden because they contain twice more minerals than other fertilizers such as manure. For example, a maple leaf has more than 5 percent minerals, while pine needles contain calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus and other elements in a 2.5 percent of their weight.
This is explained by the fact that most trees have deep roots which allows them to absorb minerals easier; much of those minerals go into the leaves. In fact, these colorful gifts that fall from the trees are very valuable for large amounts of organic matter they contain and which can improve the soil quality.
Some people complain that they don’t know how to get compost out of leaves. There are two things you have to take care in order to successfully make compost out of leaves, weeds and garden debris:
1. Add nitrogen to the leaves. Nitrogen is the element that rise the temperature inside the pile of leaves. Manure is the best source of nitrogen that you can use. You can also use a mixture of 5 parts leaves to 1 part manure that will decompose them faster. If you don’t have manure use other sources of nitrogen.
2. Cut or tear the leaves, this will guarantee success.
The pile of leaves that you want to turn into compost can be any shape and size, but most people prefer rectangular shapes because they are easier to handle. It is a good idea to place the debris in layers:
– Start with a layer of broken or torn leaves, 15 cm thick.
– Then add a layer of 5 cm of organic debris with nitrogen level higher than the leaves. You can choose anything from the list below: manure, garbage or green grass. You may add the low-nitrogen level debris such as sawdust, corn cobs or dry grass.
The pile should be moist, but not water teeming. Do not forget to mingle the leaves with a fork once every 3 weeks, or earlier if you want.
You can make compost in 14 days if you follow these steps:
1. Tear or torn the leaves.
2. Mix 4 parts leaves with 1 part manure or other nitrogen supplement compound.
3. Mingle the pile every 3 days. It is not difficult, because the leaves are torn, so the pile is low weight.
Tip: You can cover the compost pile with plastic wrap – it keeps warm and it prevents dryness or excessive watering.