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Leaves –high in carbon and trace elements — are a great ingredient to add to any composting effort. And turning them into leaf mold yields a different valuable amendment, full of the living microbes that keep soils healthy.

But care must be taken when composting leaves. Leaves are mostly carbon. To make finished, well-balanced compost of them requires adding green or nitrogen-rich material. That can come from grass clippings, which can be hard to come by this time of year. Or maybe you’ve saved them up through the summer and they’re already on their way to breaking down. Adding sources of nitrogen, like stable cleanings or other manure-containing waste is a good idea. Or you can just add nitrogen heavy additives like alfalfa or blood meal in the spring to boost nitrogen levels and stimulate the composting process.

You don’t have to compost leaves in a pile to keep them from the land fill. Run a mower over them a time or three and let them settle into your yard. They’ll help keep your soil friable and discourage problems that come from hard and nutrition starved yards. (Shredding leaves is also a good idea for those going into your compost heap). Leaves are also good used as winter mulches, especially around acid-loving plants like azaleas and rhododendrons. Spreading a little lime among you leaf mulches will help keep pH levels perfect around your other perennials. The important thing? Don’t let your leaves go to waste.

read more original article Planet natural

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Date: 2015-10-16

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