Leaf Composting

By AM Northwest Staff

Our own Janice Bangs met up with Carl Grimm who showed us how to do our own leaf composting!

Leave your leaves alone!

  • Need a foolproof excuse not to rake the leaves? On bare soil in non-windy areas, it is best to let them be.
  • Leaf mulch improves soil without tilling, reduces weeds without hoeing, and waters plants without watering! How?
    • Leaves feed worms who till for free.
    • Leaves smother weeds while we’re warm inside.
    • All mulches catch water vapor off the soil and drip it back in again.
  • Leaf mulch also feeds worms and other critters that beautiful birds (like robins, spotted towhees and sparrows) depend on for winter food. And this helps keep nature in our neighborhoods.
  • So, please—give your neighbors a break and retire your noisy leaf blowers!
    • If you have lawn—you will need to do a little raking—but don’t worry, it is excellent exercise!

Let them rot!

  • Next best thing to do with leaves is leave them in a pile, as long as you don’t have rodents in your area (they could burrow). You may want to cover it with a tarp once it is wet to help it break down. By spring time the pile should be ready for use as a dark brown mulch or amendment.
  • To keep your leaf pile tidy, and away from burrowing animals, Metro’s composter on sale at the MetroPaint store for $35 with a $7 floor is great.
  • In fact, compost NEEDS brown material like leaves to balance the green material like fruits and vegetables.
  • Mix the browns and greens and keep moist, but not soaking wet.
  • You may want to save some dry leaves in a bag or garbage can for adding throughout the winter.

The sky is not falling

  • Leave your leaves in your garden and your garden will grow better!

More information:

Metro recycling information at 503-234-3000 or click here.

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