Who is composting?

pondwelr(z5 WI)October 30, 2008

Today, the nice young man who mows my grass arrived for his last cutting of the year. This time of year, he puts the bag on his mower and mulches leaves and mows grass at the same time, removing it from my property.

It suddenly dawned on me that I should be using the 'fruit ' of my land and not adding to the landfills, so I asked him to leave about half of his bags on an empty spot in a mulched bed.

I planted some new Hosta and Heuchera this Spring, and want to have them well mulched by mid Dec. I'll add some pine needles to the mix, plus empty my garden pots to make it active.

Years ago, when I had a veggie garden, I recycled everything and had a huge compost pile. But now, I figured the big beds of trees and shrubs that border my yard, didn't need any help.

So I will experiment this year. See if I notice any difference after mulching the border beds. Next Spring should prove something one way or another. Perhaps the difference noticed only by me and my eagle eye.

I feel sorry for my neighbors. They have to clean up much of the leaf litter from my trees. I think I will ask them to bag and dump their leaf litter on my beds. Or is that too nervy?

Does anyone else dump leaves on their neighbors? Does anyone know of a better combo than that of fresh green grass and chopped leaves to make a 'soup'? It is so simple, really.

Got better ideas, then let me know. Pondy

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One approach to getting leaves from your neighbor: Offer to do the work of removing them from their yard. If they pile them up, and you're willing to move them, that seems like a nice compromise.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 9:06PM
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monica33flowers(z4 WI)

I always rake a lot of my leaves into my beds. It gives the beds some insulation and helps with the soil.

Plus, I have an added bonus. I live about two miles from a compost site.

So, every fall we go up to the site and get 15 5 gallon buckets of compost. Each rose gets one bucket of compost to cover the entire bottom of the rose. This has really helped my roses over-winter and since I started this technique a few years ago I've only lost one rose.

Then when summer comes we go and get more compost to rototill into all of the beds to freshen them up.

I take all of dead plants and the leftover leaves the following year. I also take all of my weeds to the site as well. But when the fresh compost goes in so does the Preen so no new weeds will germinate.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 12:26PM
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Yeah, my neighbors rake their leaves into the street and I sneak out and rake them into my garden before the huge leaf-sucking truck can get them. Last year I raked huge piles of them into my vegetable garden and covered them with a bit of dirt so they wouldn't all blow away. Then in the spring I dug them back into the soil. This year I wasn't so ambitious, but I did cover up my flower and garden beds with leaves. I also save bags of leaves in my basement to use as bedding in my worm composting bins. A couple of filled garbage bags is perfect for the 3-4 times I have to re-stock the bins each year.

I also steal their decomposing pumpkins from the curb after Halloween and just throw them in my garden to compost. :)


    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 3:35PM
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pondwelr(z5 WI)

I am envious of Monica, who lives near a compost site. How does one get a city or township to start a compost heap?

Mike, you might put out a garbage can with the sign 'Dump used pumpkins here', and see what you get. I actually did that when we lived in the country lake house, and homes were sometimes far apart. Got LOTS of pumpkins and squash and even corn cobs.

Here in SE WI, we got 2/3 inches of wet snow on Monday eve.
Just what my pile of leaves and grass needed. Tomorrow I will empty all my summer pots on top of the heap. I expect some action in the pile come Spring.

Arent we all so blessed to have homes, lawns and gardens to sustain us? This will be a rather poignant Thanksgiving
for so many of our less lucky neighbors. Lets all remember to look after one another. Pondy

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 5:30PM
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Well, it's been a long time since you posted your original question, Pondy, re: I feel sorry for my neighbors. They have to clean up much of the leaf litter from my trees. I think I will ask them to bag and dump their leaf litter on my beds. Or is that too nervy?
You've most likely solved the problem by now. But just in case your neighbors still have "your" leaves on their lawn, and if they feel they shouldn't have to rake/bag/pile "your" leaves onto your gardens, maybe you could hire some neighborhood kids/teen to do the job for you. Everybody's a winner, plus the kids then have money for buying Christmas presents or whatever.

I have a compost pile on which I throw spent perennial foliage, some leaves, some grass clippings, some dead annuals w/dirt from their pots, and kitchen scraps. I occasionally toss in some dirt from the farmer's field that borders our property. But I have to be careful with that dirt and only take it at the end of the growing season, because he sprays herbicides and pesticides on his crops.

I also have tons of leaves that blow onto my gardens - a mixture of Oak, Locust, Maple, Black Walnut (yes, I know about the juglone, but with all the organisims in the soil, it seems to break down easily, and most of the plants that grow near the BW trees are tolerant.) The neighbor also adds veggies from his garden that got too ripe before he could use them....esp. cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins. I also added lots of corn husks from freezing corn this year.

The past couple of years I've been trying to cut up spent perennial stems right in the garden, and let them lay on top of the ground. They eventually decompose, and get help from the earthworms.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!


    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 2:35PM
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