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How To Compost Your Leaves

Transform those dead autumn leaves from annoying yard waste into useful compost.


  • Step 1: Use a rake or shovel to turn your compost pile at least once a week. Move the inside of the pile to the outside, and vice versa. Over time, the mixture will decompose.
  • Step 2: Use your compost after six to eight months. Your pile of leaves will have become rich, black humus with a crumbly consistency. If there are any chunks, use them in another active compost pile. Enjoy using your homemade compost for all kinds of gardening projects.
  • FACT: Did you know? Blood meal, which is made from dried animal blood, has the highest nitrogen content of any additive – 10 to 14 percent.
  • TIP: Make sure your pile is mostly made of leaves. Too much other material may slow the rate of decomposition or create unpleasant odors.
  • Step 3: Mix in other materials that contain nitrogen, such as grass clippings or vegetable peels. Leaves decompose by themselves in most environments, but this will help the process along.
  • TIP: Your pile of leaves should be four to ten feet across, and three to five feet high. If you have too many leaves, set some aside to use in your yard as mulch.
  • Step 4: Put your leaf pile in a bin or fenced area that will contain it while allowing it to get plenty of oxygen.
  • Step 5: Shred a pile of leaves by running over it with a lawnmower. Leaves make better compost when they're shredded first.

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