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It's Composting Time!

"Hey kids, what time is it?"
That's right, it's Composting Time! It all starts with those beautiful Fall leaves. Not only are they essential to composting success, they are one of the very few things that can be composted all by themselves! That's right, even if all you do is pile all your leaves up in a corner of your landscape, they will eventually turn into a nutrient-rich plant food your garden will love.

But shredded leaves are MUCH better!
Last year, I noticed people sweeping their leaves into big piles at the curb for the township truck to come by and collect. Not if I got them first! I quick bought a box of trash bags, and started working a BIG pile whose leaves were already shredded, a huge bonus! You can fit ten times more shredded leaves into a bag than whole ones. I get down close to the center of one and its WARM in there; grass clippings! This pile is composed of the perfect mix for composting, dry browns and wet greens, all shredded! Mix up your own shredded leaves and grass clippings and you'll create Garden Gold before the New Year! But DON'T do this if the lawn has been treated with herbicides, some of those deadly chemicals can survive the composting process to kill your plants next year! And don't try and compost grass clippings, or any other green matter, WITHOUT a lot of leaves or other 'brown material'; it'll just be a soggy mess!

Yes, making your own compost is easy!
(It's comedy that's hard. Trust me.) Ahem. Anyway, all you have to do to make this ultimate plant-feeding, disease-fighting, soil improving substance is combine a lot of shredded Fall leaves with an equal to somewhat-lesser amount of nitrogen-rich 'wet green' material, like clippings from an herbicide-free lawn, your spent garden plants, all of your kitchen waste that isn't meat, bones or fat, and, if you're lucky enough to have access, some barnyard manures, like from horses, cows, sheep and poultry (NO dog or cat stuff!). Just mix it all together and it WILL break down into rich super-soil, but it'll take awhile. Enclose it in a bin made of naturally rot-resistant wood or animal fencing with lots of openings for airflow and it will turn into compost much faster.

Now, the biggest reasons...excuse me, I mean excuses! for not having a compost pile is that it'll attract vermin or the neighbors will complain. Keep meat and fat out of the pile, and the local vermin will stay in restaurant dumpsters, where they belong. If you're STILL worried, use an enclosed composter, a covered bin, spinner or tumbler. They can often placate neighbors, as can simply keeping a nice, neat pile. Always bury any fresh kitchen scraps in the center, and keep extras bags of shredded leaves nearby to cover the top, so it always looks nice. Odors? If you can smell anything bad, it means you've got too much green stuff in there. Mix in a big batch of shredded leaves and all will be well.

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