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Composting Leaves Only

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Composting Leaves Only

Post  has55 on 10/25/2016, 7:20 am









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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  trolleydriver on 10/25/2016, 11:08 am

has55 ... thanks for posting these videos.

I want to make a new vegetable bed in an area that is currently lawn (a combination of grass and clover). I prefer not to dig up the lawn. I'm wondering if I can just pile leaves (one foot or more deep) over the lawn and use the area next Spring for growing veggies. My winters are very cold so I am not sure there will be any breakdown of the leaves. Feedback in invited.

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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  floyd1440 on 10/25/2016, 8:44 pm

Leaf mold is good stuff but am not sure how much it would break down in the cold winter.

My neighbor just uses leaves and has a very productive garden.
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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/25/2016, 9:37 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:has55 ... thanks for posting these videos.

I want to make a new vegetable bed in an area that is currently lawn (a combination of grass and clover). I prefer not to dig up the lawn. I'm wondering if I can just pile leaves (one foot or more deep) over the lawn and use the area next Spring for growing veggies. My winters are very cold so I am not sure there will be any breakdown of the leaves. Feedback in invited.
I don't think that would work, TD.  Only because my front perennial garden sits under a foot or so of maple leaves every winter.  They act as mulch, and also because I am lazy and don't rake that area out because it is deep leaves!  It sits there, nothing dies out under there over the winter.  

Every spring, some of the leaves have "molded" but others, most in fact, are raked out and disposed of.  I think it would all just sit there, dormant.  And your grass is dormant and I don't think the area would be ready by Spring.  

What say others?
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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  yolos on 10/26/2016, 12:01 am

I would compost the leaves as much as possible over the winter.  I know they won't compost much in your weather but they would compost more in a compost bin with the addition of nitrogeneous materials.  When you get ready to fix your bed in the spring, cut the grass real short or use a weed eater which can cut it down to the ground.  Then put down a layer of cardboard and then your soil on top of the cardboard.  Maybe punch a few holes in the cardboard to let the water flow out of the bed.  In a year the cardboard will have disintegrated (at least in my climate) and then the plants will have access to the soil below the bed.  

Ah, maybe you are not going to make a raised bed and just planting on the ground.  Well, if so, then maybe add some coffee grounds to the leaves to help break them down a little faster.  If not composted enough by spring planting time, then rake the leaves off, plant and put the leaves back on as mulch.  But not sure whether the leaves would be enough to smother the grass from sprouting next spring.
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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  trolleydriver on 10/26/2016, 4:46 pm

Thanks folks for your advice. I think I will just wait until next Spring to create the new bed. In the meantime, I will try composting chopped up leaves in my new compost bin over the Winter.

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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  floyd1440 on 10/26/2016, 8:47 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:Thanks folks for your advice. I think I will just wait until next Spring to create the new bed. In the meantime, I will try composting chopped up leaves in my new compost bin over the Winter.
At least you have your leaves collected!  Having a shorter summer so you will have less time to get grass clippings than others in warmer areas so you might want to consider having bins for both green and brown components.

Just an idea for next year.
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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  sanderson on 10/27/2016, 2:36 am

TD, So, you are planning to store the mowed leaves in the new bin over winter? What about adding some coffee grounds?

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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  trolleydriver on 10/27/2016, 8:26 am

@sanderson wrote:TD,  So, you are planning to store the mowed leaves in the new bin over winter?  What about adding some coffee grounds?

I plan to wait until Spring to create the new veggie bed but I would like to start composting in the new bin before Winter sets in.  I should have plenty of mowed leaves. And I have a ton of green material from yard waste (mostly flower garden plants and SFG veggie plants) to chop up. I should go to the coffee shop to get some coffee grounds. I have a bag of horse manure as well as bone meal to use. I hope that will sufficient to get things started.

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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  sanderson on 10/27/2016, 9:07 am

clap

You also should post the above in your thread. We have gotten off topic a bit.

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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  has55 on 10/27/2016, 11:01 am

I moved the wood chip mulched over to my new composting area. I going to start putting leaves down in my walkway like " one yard revolution" does for his SFG area. He using the leaves for his walkways, which I will do too, but I will also do simple sheet composting with a rake occasionally or not rake at all. The sheet composting idea came from the "I am organic gardening" youtube channel. Later I will simply harvest the compost off the top 5-6 inches or slightly lower, since the depth to my garden floor space is 12 inches. it should be weed free or almost like my composting pile. I was dreaming and this idea came of seeing a way to get so much more compost without using my back ( accept when harvesting). It been composting for 2-3 three years now and I just been adding more wood chips as it goes down. The soil food web has been aggressive. 

the picture below shows the changes beneath the 4 inches since I applied it a month ago. Using leaves makes sense at this stage, because the weight of the wood chip have did their work of suppressing weeds. It will be easy to apply leaves myself. I usually hired someone to haul those wood chip to the walkway in the past. I keep you updated how the experiment goes.

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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  Kelejan on 10/29/2016, 10:56 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:
@trolleydriver wrote:Thanks folks for your advice. I think I will just wait until next Spring to create the new bed. In the meantime, I will try composting chopped up leaves in my new compost bin over the Winter.
At least you have your leaves collected!  Having a shorter summer so you will have less time to get grass clippings than others in warmer areas so you might want to consider having bins for both green and brown components.

Just an idea for next year.
 I would think that having a bin just for greens would make it a bit stinky? I dry my grass clippings in the summer and store them in bags and add them to my compost in the fall along with the leaves off the trees.
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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  llama momma on 10/30/2016, 9:54 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:Thanks folks for your advice. I think I will just wait until next Spring to create the new bed. In the meantime, I will try composting chopped up leaves in my new compost bin over the Winter.

  I just read this and your earlier post TD.  Of course you can make new beds over grass without digging.  I've done it  A few weeks ago I added two new beds right over the grass.  One is 75 feet long, the other 25 feet long.  Put wet cardboard ( soak 10 minutes in a wheelbarrow with water) over the grass and multiple layers of spent hay and manure until it is a good 2 feet thick. Each new layer was totally hosed down so everything is soaking wet.  Whole thing is hosed thoroughly about once a week unless it rains or gets too cold out.   By Spring it will be fantastic.  I made these beds for flowers as they are close to a leach field. 
   First time I did this in another area a few years back.  I put up a trellis and planted green beans, this was before I knew about sq. ft. gardening.  Anyway I could not keep up with all the beans, those seeds went crazy. 
   I think the key is to add a good nitrogen source to break things down by Spring.  My garden helpers said they used at least 12 or more full wheelbarrows of manure and about 15 full wheelbarrows of old hay.
  If you want to use up leaves then mow it over so it will break down faster!
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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  has55 on 11/15/2016, 8:06 pm

waiting for those leaves to come down for composting . saw some bags in the neighborhood. trees are just starting to turned yellow gold.
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Re: Composting Leaves Only

Post  sanderson on 11/17/2016, 3:08 am

Leaves just starting to turn colors here, also.

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