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Leaf gathering for composting


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Wes
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 13 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:15 pm    Post subject: Leaf gathering for composting Reply with quote

Does anybody do this? Any tips?
Ive gathered quite the haul of bags, I dont know about anywhere else, but in Dub youre given corpo bags to clean up the leaves, then place them on the street corner for collection. Of course, anyone could collect them. So I have.
I now have them in 200L bins, and have thrown in some soil, with worms. Any other suggestions that would help?

thanks! Tis good winter working weather out there. I guess anytime is good, once its not raining.
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kindredspirit
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have 7 one ton builders bags of tree leaves waiting for me on a neighbouring farm. I leave them out in the rain all winter and by Spring they've glued into gelatinous mats and I then use them as mulch. I don't put any soil on top as I need them as mulch, not compost. If you're composting, then you'll have to use soil or so and then wait maybe 2 years for it to change into compost. It's slower to break down than ordinary compost material.
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Blowin
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Location: Drimoleague, Co Cork

PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done, Wes. That, to me, is the secret of gardening. As they say, another man's trash is another man's treasure and it's amazing what 'goodies' other folk discard.

'Leaf mould' is one of the best additives you can get and has always been prized by professional gardeners. Imagine, the tree draws nutrients up through its root system and creates foliage from it. In the autumn the sap dies back down into the roots and leaves much of its goodness to dry and fall to the ground. The resultant carpet keeps the roots 'warm' in the winter and gradually rots down to recycle its nutrients.

What you've got is a combination of valuable fertiliser and fibrous material that'll improve all aspects of your ground. If you dig the plot, it's not a bad idea to sprinkle some of your leaves into the trench as you go so that the worm population can speed the process up. If you keep this up for a few years you'll have soil to die for.

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Good guy
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, well done, Wes. When I began this garden I got organic material from wherever I could, both to incorporate into the soil and to use as mulch. I gathered leaves from various places, bought in spent mushroom compost, used lawn clippings as mulch, etc etc. These days, I am self-sufficient in garden compost and my soil is, generally , in great shape though I do sometimes buy in manure etc.

A great many of the soils we live on were created from post-glacial deposits, enriched over thousands of years by the addition of leaf litter etc from the woodlands that developed after the ice retreated. So what you are doing is mimicking nature. Keep it up!
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leaf mould not compost is the best we can hope for, but it is great tack all the same.
Here is an article that I wrote on the subject a while back. ... Fiery Autumn leaves, admire them, collect them and bag them.

Hope it helps.

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Wes
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all. Ive done a bit of that trench filling blowin, and by god you can really fill them.

I saw a bag of 'Compost Enhancement' yesterday in Homebase I think, but then thought best to leave the contents as natural as possible. Sure its my first year, start off simple.
I did read somewhere not to include citrus fruits. Is there any truth to that? I guess what I'm looking for, is someone to say, 'nope, throw in all scraps'.
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

I did read somewhere not to include citrus fruits. Is there any truth to that? I guess what I'm looking for, is someone to say, 'nope, throw in all scraps'.


Supposed to throw the pH out of whack due to the acidity of the peels.
In fairness you would want to be horsing into bucketloads of oranges a week to have any real effect.
I would add them personally.

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baabamaal
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I think unless you work for Tropicana (or have loads of citrus fruit every day) that the warning on citrus fruit is overstated- once it is mixed in with other materials, I may be wrong on this but I have never had a problem with it. You can always add lime to the composting process if things are too acidic. I also steer clear of the enhancers on the basis that the microbe/nutrient mix already exists in that magical substance..topsoil! I just throw a scoop of into compost material every now and then.
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm afraid I'm going to be the proverbial Phillistine on using waste matter and have stimulated howls of disgust in previous posts.

My compost heap is literally a 'dump' (as someone put it) for anything rottable - including food waste. As I harvest crops the offcuts go into it, e.g. tops off parsnips and swedes plus potato haulms. At the end of the season all the pea and bean vines go in but, throughout, the kitchen waste bin is emptied in as well. To make the bin easier to clean I add water and swizzle it round before emptying and this keeps the heap moist. If I do disturb the contents for any reason I usually find it seething with little red worms. In spring I push the most recent stuff to one side and shovel out the nice crumbly stuff underneath and put it on the garden.

My reason for the length of explanation is to indicate that anything and everything, fruit included, goes into my compost but, as a matter of course, if I'm planting something that needs an alkaline soil, I throw a few handfuls of granular lime on to the area first as a precaution.

There's not much science here, but this winter I've substituted five 200-litre blue plastic barrels for the compost heap. Each contains a good quantity of water on the 'tea' principle. One barrel is literally full of nettles for starting off my runner beans - see previous posts - and the rest are (or will be) full of general waste. At least this will enable me to keep track of which barrel is old and which is new but what the results might be I haven't a clue. Four barrels are full and have plastic sheeting on top. The current one is open and 'work in progress'.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have two bins/heaps, side by side, made of boards. One heap is being gradually filled while the other is 'maturing'. Everything goes in, except meat/fats or cooked food. I put in brown paper bags, envelopes, egg cartons, loo roll tubes, junk mail etc as well.
Once, to see what would happen, I put in a pair of old socks and some worn-out Y-fronts. One year later, the socks were still recognisable, though somewhat discoloured; they must have contained a lot of man made fibre. The underpants, however, had disintegrated almost entirely - all that was left was the elastic waistband and the 'Y'!
I only turn the compost once, from one bin to the other, as the 'done' bin is used up. Any big uncomposted pieces go back in again to the new bin. There are always loads of red worms at the top of the 'new' bin - I cover both bins with old carpet, partly to exclude light from weeds and also to preserve moisture in dry weather.
It works for me!
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should turned the Y fronts inside out as you would have got another year or two out of them that way. I do it all the time, not Y fronts though, I had to Google to see what they are!!!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find washing my underpants is more hygienic than turning them inside out. But then there is no accounting for personal preferences.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's all about getting value for money these days.
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tippben
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can highly recommend keeping a bucket in the shed, and urinating in it. Then add that to the compost heap. Lime in our heap comes from wood ashes. I don't eat meat, so food waste often goes in. We've never had a rat problem, as we have three cats. For carbon, I occasionally add chainsaw chippings saved from cutting firewood, but mostly used tissues. I sometimes add leaves, but unfortunately we don't have space for a leaf mould heap.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've kept a bucket of wood ash for top dressing my fruit bushes. But I don't keep a bucket in the shed for my pees!
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