Put Your Leaves to Work

The leaves are falling furiously in Pottstown. This year, instead of kicking them to the curb, think about composting them for use in next year’s garden.

There are many benefits to composting your leaves, from saving money on gardening supplies to reducing the impact on the municipal waste system. You can begin composting leaves with minimal materials. All you really need is a pile of fallen leaves and a few feet of space away from the house.

The easiest way to get started is using a bagging lawnmower—either a push mower or riding mower. The best thing about using a lawnmower with a bagging attachment is that you’re picking up grass clippings along with your leaves and creating a fair mix of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials.  In addition, the smaller particles will convert into usable compost more quickly than leaves that are not chopped up.  Adding other materials like vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, or shredded paper will also affect the carbon-nitrogen balance.

Turning and watering your leaf pile a few times over the winter will help ensure it breaks down by spring. Though not required, many gardeners use a bin system to keep their compost pile compact and tidy. Containment systems can be easily constructed with inexpensive materials

If you’d rather leave your leaves to the professionals, here are the guidelines for disposing of yard waste in the borough.

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John Robertson