Leaves for Compost? Great Carbon Source

Leaves for Compost? Great Carbon SourceLeaves for compost provide a great carbon source.  When I first started composting I thought I could put all my kitchen scraps in the bin and they would turn into compost. If composted alone they turn into a slimy, stinky mess.

Kitchen scraps are considered greens or the nitrogen source for the compost pile.    They also have to be mixed with a carbon or “brown” source.  Leaves for compost are a great carbon source. Add a carbon source to the slimy, stinky mess and watch (in amazement) how the carbon mixes with it and the mess loses some of its odor and wetness!

Rake Leaves for Compost in the Fall

You might still have a chance to collect or rake leaves for your compost pile.  In the fall I see black plastic bags lined up in driveways to be picked up by the trash truck.  It is so sad to think of all the lost opportunities for composting.  Fortunately in some communities the cities are now composting leaves and creating products like Leafgro that are sold to gardeners.

If you still have leaves in your yard rake and save them for your compost pile.  If they are left on the grass they will ruin it so you will kill two birds with one stone.  The drawback is that leaves for composting work best when they are shredded.  You can accomplish this with a landmower or a leaf vacuum/shredder.  If you are starting composting in a time of year when there are no leaves, maybe you could use mulch fines or wood shavings.  Read more here on Wood Shavings for the Compost Tumbler.

Leaves don’t “have” to be shredded.  They just take longer to break down.  Just look at the great soil under the leaves in our forests.  Black, earthy smelling and very rich from the composted leaves!