Written By Brenda Ruzycki, Special to QMI
One can easily turn fallen leaves into a valuable soil enhancement that offers long term benefits for your property.
process is called composting which is a natural, biological process
that turns lawn cuttings and garden debris into a soil-like material
One does not need a container to get started as leaves will decompose even while sitting in a pile.
The advantage to a compost bin is that it will take up less space, be more manageable to maintain and will be far more attractive in the yard.
come in various designs and are made of different materials such as
wood, chicken wire or recycled plastic. A container will also keep the
Check out the City of Edmonton website at www.edmonton.ca and search composting. This is an excellent resource on everything you need to know about the topic.
sure to check out the step by step instructions for building your own
compost bins. If you are interested in taking courses on composting,
they also offer those too.
The website will advise you to begin
by choosing a location which is convenient, level, well-drained and
sunny. It will also tell you to place a thin laver of topsoil on the
This is needed to help the whole process get started.
There are micro organisms in the topsoil which are needed to break down
the organic material.
Composting is a natural, biological
process that breaks down the materials that you add without having to
add any chemical starter or activator.
Yard waste such as grass
clippings, fallen leaves, dead foliage from flowers and vegetables and
small twigs that are cut up can be added to your compost bin.
hay and peat moss are also beneficial to add. Kitchen waste such as
fruit, vegetable peelings, tea bags and coffee grounds are all safe to
add year round.
There are materials that one should not add to
the compost bin. From the household waste category, do not add meat,
fish, bones, fatty foods, cheese, dairy products or pet litter.
From the garden do not add weeds with seed heads or weeds with roots such as quack grass, noxious weeds or diseased plants.
spring arrives, and as the temperatures rise, composting of the fall
garden wastes will begin. Add alternate layers of different materials
such as dry leaves and kitchen waste as often as you can. When adding
new material, be sure to mix it into the top layer. Turn the pile
weekly and allow it to heat up. This means that the micro organisms are
working. Keep an eye on the moisture level. If it is too moist add a
layer of drier material such as straw or peat moss. If it is too dry,
When the compost is ready it will be dark brown in
color, crumbly and lightweight. It will have an earthy odour. Adding
compost to garden soil is well worth the exercise. It will keep the
soil loose, help retain moisture and add nutrients back into the soil.
Ruzycki is a landscape architectural technologist with the Landscape
Division at Focus Corporation. Brenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.