Leaf compost is prepared in autumn from fallen leaves, which are widely available in the garden and in the surrounding areas. Making leaf humus with your own hands is very simple.
What do you do with fallen leaves from the garden? Dumping or burning? I propose to do otherwise – to prepare excellent compost from deciduous litter, which will help to increase soil fertility insmall plot, achieve a generous harvest and save on the purchase of organic fertilizers.
- Advantages and disadvantages of leaf compost
- Circulation of leaf compost on the site
- We equip the compost box
Leaf compost preparation technology
- How to tell if the compost is ripe
- Which leaves are not suitable for composting
Advantages and disadvantages of leaf compost
It is hardly worth talking again about the outstanding advantages of humus prepared on the basis of manure and poultry droppings – such organic fertilizers have no equal. But the luxury of using them without any financial investment can only be afforded by rural residents who keep livestock and poultry on the farm.
For “urban” summer residents, the purchase of manure and droppings today makes a significant gap in the pocket. Leaf compost is inferior to such fertilizers in nutritional value, but cultivated plants respond well to it and will never give up such yummy. So why spend money on buying manure when you have free material on hand?
Matured leaf compost quickly saturates the soil with humic compounds and microelements and effectively restores soil fertility. When embedded in soil, it perfectly improves its structure: it adds moisture capacity to sandy soil, and breathability in clay soil.
Not completely decomposed leaf mass (young compost) is an excellent product for mulching vegetable and flower crops. Flowers and vegetables do not suffer from diseases typical for fruit trees and berries. Therefore, in this case, foliage can be used to prepare compost even from under diseased garden plantings.
The only drawback of leaf compost is its acidic reaction. When introduced into the soil, it will lower its pH level, therefore, it will require the use of deoxidizers (dolomite flour, lime, chalk, ash, etc.).
Circulation of leaf compost on the site
Depending on the cooking technology and the tree species from which the foliage was taken, it will take 1.5-2 years for the leaf compost to fully mature. If you do not help the compost to mature, this process will take longer.
To have such a valuable fertilizer at your fingertips every season, I propose to build 3 compost boxes on the site at once. On the first one, every autumn you will lay the next batch of fresh litter. In the second composting chamber at this time, the ripening of last year’s mixture of leaves and earth will take place. And the third tray by this point will provide you with fully matured compost.
In the same autumn, you can use the contents of the third compost box to fertilize the beds, or postpone the procedure until spring. Do not overtighten using matured compost, as the third tray needs to be emptied by next summer. It is needed in order to transfer maturing leaf mass from the first “barn” into it. By transferring the contents of the first compost bin to the empty one, you can move the contents of the second bin to the first.
This “shuffling” of the compost will significantly speed up its maturation. By shoveling the contents of the compost boxes, you saturate it with oxygen, which is necessary for beneficial microorganisms and earthworms for normal life, and without their help, it will not work to prepare fertilizer. Transfer should be carried out at least 2-3 times per season. The work is time consuming but extremely important.
The lazy option is to make only 1 compost bin. Fill it with leaves and earth, and in the next season, periodically shovel the contents – spread it on the ground and return it back. Next fall, mulch perennial plants or beds with winter crops with young compost. The ripening of such a semi-finished fertilizer will continue in the new season already “in place”. In the same autumn, you can fill the empty container with a new portion of the foliage.
We equip the compost box
If you do not spare money for your favorite summer cottage, you can go the easiest way and buy ready-made compost boxes. Such adaptations save you unnecessary hassle and will help you get valuable leaf compost for many years.
Less well-to-do summer residents adapt old barrels, tanks, cast-iron baths and even dense garbage bags with a volume of 200 liters or more for this purpose. The main rule when using such improvised means is the holes in their walls, which will provide air flow to the ripening humus mass. The contents of these containers will also need to be shoveled several times per season: transferred from one to another or poured onto the ground covered with film, and then returned again.
The most laborious option is the construction of a stationary compost chamber with 3 compartments made of boards, slate, tin and any other materials at hand. Be sure to leave gaps in the walls of such a device, or make them from a strong mesh. If you are building a high compost bin, make one side of it collapsible so that you can easily get to the contents later.
Leaf compost preparation technology
After the leaves fall, collect the fallen leaves and put them in a tray, sprinkling with layers of earth 5-10 cm thick. If the foliage and soil are dry, be sure to spill them with water. Lawn owners can add cut grass to the content – it will accelerate the maturation of humus. It is also permissible to put soft-stemmed tops of vegetables and weeds without seeds, as well as kitchen waste of vegetable origin.
It’s great if you have fresh manure or bird droppings at your disposal. Be sure to add these nitrogenous products to the total mass or spill the contents with a solution based on them. An alternative option is a solution of a purchased nitrogen preparation (urea, ammonium nitrate, etc.), prepared at the rate of 20-30 g per 10 liters of water.
An excellent effect on the further decomposition of organic matter will have a solution of the EM preparation. Dissolve the concentrate in water according to the instructions, and spill it with a useful solution when adding an organic filling.
So that in the future you do not have to deoxidize the soil in the beds that you fertilize with leaf compost, smooth out the acid reaction right away. To do this, at the stage of laying organic matter, sprinkle its layers with wood ash, dolomite flour, slaked lime or chalk.
Over the next season, in addition to regularly shoveling the maturing compost, you will need to periodically moisten it with water. A solution of mullein, urea, or an EM preparation will be useful, with which you moisten the contents a couple of times per season. Be sure to take care of the lid on the compost bin if you made one yourself. It will be required to protect the organic matter from drying out in the summer heat and from washing out during the period of prolonged rains.
You can do it easier – cover the top of the compost mass with a dense film and make holes in it for air access. And do not forget to collect a handful of earthworms in the garden and run them in a pile. After a short time, they will multiply in large quantities in the nutritious feather bed and accelerate the maturation of the compost.
How to tell if the compost is ripe
Fully matured leaf compost is a loose, homogeneous mass. In it, you should not find skeletons of leaves or undisturbed remains of other waste that were laid along with litter. There will be no earthworms in mature compost: they will leave the compost bin when it runs out of food. A distinctive feature of mature leaf compost is its pleasant “forest” aroma.
Which leaves are not suitable for composting
Unfortunately, not all leaves are suitable for composting. The foliage of some tree species contains a lot of tannins, which in the future will have a negative impact on the development of cultivated plants. Do not use walnut, lingonberry, blueberry, sumach and scumpia litter – it is better to use it for making ash. Avoid the oak and hazel if you decide to replenish the foliage in the forest.
The leaves of maple, chestnut and hawthorn will slow down the process of maturation of compost – they are very dense. It is better to grind such foliage first with a garden shredder and only then lay it in the composting chamber.
Correctly prepared leaf compost will be an excellent help in a summer cottage. Such a natural product will have the best effect on the health of cultivated plants, will help to achieve a generous harvest and will allow you to save on the purchase of store fertilizers. Don’t give up on such a profitable idea! Besides, now is the right time to bring the idea to life. published by econet.ru
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