1. Place leaf composters near shedding trees
2. Leaves go in, instead of dumping or burning them
3. Add a bucket of water daily & accelerator once a week
4. Harvest mulch or compost for the garden
twigs & clippings
These can all go in, cut up the larger pieces where possible to speed up decomposition.
Cut the long stalks into smaller pieces for optimum composting. We also have a composter just for Pooja flowers. The string in the flowers will take more time, but will compost eventually.
Leaves contain 50 - 80% of the nutrients absorbed by the plant from the soil - save and compost them!
Lawn's are often treated with strong herbicides which linger in the compost for months & may damage plants. Best not to add grass if you don’t know what it's treated with.
Weeds will grow more weeds, best not to add them to your composter.
Pathogens from diseased plants could survive the composting process, though some piles maybe warm enough to destroy them.
Accelerator, once a week
Leaf mulch / compost
Half composted leaves and garden litter which is used to cover beds is called mulch. You can makes dried leaves into mulch in 6 months in our leaf composters. Mulch acts as a barrier between the elements and soil and is beneficial in many ways.
Fully composted leaves and garden litter is called leaf compost. This is used as a natural soil amendment. Good leaf compost takes 12 months to form in our leaf composters. Leaf compost will allow the roots of the plants to absorb more nutrients, and is a great soil amendment below the ground.
What do I gain?
For anyone who wants to do a leaf composting project beyond the home, here is an idea we have tried and would love to see implemented in urban areas. A leaf safe zone is best done in your own your street, in your neighbourhood park or gated community.
A leaf safe zone means - a space where no leaves or garden litter is burned or taken to landfill or dumped in drains.
(Contains fun exercises, facts, waste audit sheet & community sign up sheet)
Get others involved
Get things in place
Keep it going
Don't give up!
1. What's wrong with burning leaves?
The amount of toxins released from uncontrolled low temperature burning in open lots depends on the composition of the waste being burned, the temperature of the fire and the supply of oxygen.
The major problem with open burning is that it is rarely carried ur at high enough temperatures to destroy toxic substances. Under calm weather conditions, toxins released from this type of uncontrolled low temperature burning can remain at dangerous levels near the ground for a long time - causing high amount of contamination at source. Not healthy at all - what do you think ?
2. Will my leaf composter become smelly?
No, a leaf composter in action will not produce any bad odour. You can proudly place a leaf composter on your front lawn - no problem!
3. Will my leaf composter attract a lot of insects?
Insects are part of the composting process, they will be around to help decomposition and feed off the decaying leaves. However, the pile is not going to harbour mosquitoes, houseflies or other disease carrying pests.
4. Can I add twigs, palm fronds and branches to the leaf composter?
Yes you can add twigs and branches but make sure you break them down into smaller bits. Palm fronds are best cut into smaller bits before adding it to the composter. The very big branches cannot go in. Many larger communities invest in a garden shredder for the large bits.
5. Are there any leaves I cannot add to the composter?
Walnut, eucalyptus and camphor laurel leaves contain substances that inhibit plant growth. It's best to compost these leaves before using them in your garden.
6. What is the difference between mulch and leaf mulch?
Mulch is any type of material that is spread or laid over the surface of the soil (around plants too) as a covering. The best mulches are porous enough to permit penetration of air and water to the soil, thereby promoting plant health. There are many organic mulches, wooden chips, bone meal, straw etc. Leaf mulch (made from dried leaves) is one such mulch.
7. Why can't I compost leaves with kitchen waste?
There is no harm in adding leaves to your kitchen waste pile but remember they will take much longer to decompose and might take a lot of space in the composter.
The leaves do help to absorb the water from kitchen waste and Daily Dump previously recommended leaves as the carbon source in all products. However, we found that the difficulty in finding and storing dried leaves all year round, the chore of stirring everyday and the possibility of a stinking pile (due to not adding enough leaves or not drying them out enough) deterred people from composting altogether.
We wouldn't want that to happen to you now, would we?
8. How can we deal with large pieces of tree waste in the city?
When you drive outside the city, you must have noticed how neatly the farmers stack fallen logs, coconut fronds, coconut frond stems, old coconut shells, hay etc.
In our cities the fallen branches, fronds and shells are all great fuel for construction labourers or other people who can use it as fuel to cook their evening meal. These if collected and stored in one space on a street for people to use will be the best use of this resource instead of sending it to landfill. The Street Fuel Center – a service to help people eat. Think of some corporate bold enough to sponsor this and of course a municipal commissioner forward thinking enough to see all material as a resource and nothing as waste in a city.