Compost Leaves

Every fall, we see people working very hard with leaves, putting them in paper bags for city collection. Anyone who has even a modest back yard can use an easier method. You may already have a compost heap where you put your garden clippings, etc. If not, enclose an area of about 5 x 10 feet with chicken wire. Rake your leaves into piles. Then place an old blanket or a piece of plastic sheeting or a piece of blue plastic tarpaulin next to the pile.

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Rake the leaves onto the sheet. Pick up the corners of the sheet one by one. When you have the four corners, you can easily carry the leaves and dump them into your compost heap. You will clear your lawn much faster than your neighbor who is bobbing up and down stuffing the leaves into paper bags.

There are environmental benefits also. Fall leaves are probably 90% water and air. It is ridiculous to carry bags of water and air in large City trucks burning huge amounts of gasoline. Leaves placed in your compost heap will quickly settle, providing room for additional leaves. By spring, the leaves are just about gone, but there has been a contribution to soil formation in your compost heap. In a few years you will have good soil to use to enrich your garden beds. And you will reduce city operating expenses, maybe resulting in a few cents off your taxes!

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Source: Maybe I got the idea when I visited my sister-in-law and family in the early 1970s. The trash collection method was that city personnel would come into the back yard, place a canvas on the ground, and empty the trash cans onto the canvas. Then pick up the four corners and go out to the truck at the front. This was luxury service; no need for the homeowner to bring his or her trash out to the curb. No one gets this service now!

By Desiree Farkas from Toronto, Ontario

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November 10, 20100 found this helpful

We started doing this last year and this summer we had the equivalent of about 4 bags of leaf mulch-- for free. Just make sure you turn it over with a rake now and then as that will help speed along the decomposition.

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October 21, 20120 found this helpful

The leaves have to go this year. A neighbor made a very large and deep pile of tree limbs next to our boundary which are now the home of foxes and mice. I have sprayed during the summer and none of sprays have ended the flea migration.

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My large yard of trees now has extended the flea population to the leaves and my pets have had a difficult time. I have removed ground cover (not the roots) and now I must remove my compost of leaves which I started a month ago. There is no way to control the cycle.

The battle has extended to the house, basement, and garage. The animals have been costly to treat and one cat was very ill from the loss of blood at one point. She is fine now but I now realize this is a war and composting only made it worse. The neighbor is not going to remove the wood. I have offered to help him do this. No deal. I will have to fence in a part of my yard a distance from that boundary for the pets to go out side and hopefully that will prevent this problem and I can compost again.

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