Campus News

Turn fallen leaves into rich compost

Fallen leaves can be turned into compost according to Stephen Garton, Cooperative Extension coordinator in Forsyth County.

To compost leaves, gather them into piles that consist of a layer of leaves four-inches thick followed by a one- to two-inch layer of soil supplemented with organic kitchen waste like vegetable peels, food scraps without meat or fat and any other plant matter or grass clippings. Add another four inches of leaves and then another layer of soil and kitchen waste and so on. The pile can be as large or small as you like, but a pile 64 cubic feet will have enough mass to remain warm and allow decomposition to take place throughout most of the winter. Keep the pile moist with occasional watering. The pile can be covered with an old tarp to prevent cooling off.

Leave the pile to decompose naturally, which will take place as a result of the active organisms present in the soil. The pile will create heat and may reach high temperatures that cause steam to come from the pile on cold winter days. To increase oxygen in the air inside the pile, turn the pile once or twice to prevent any anaerobic decomposition that may lead to unpleasant odors. In the spring, the volume should have decreased by half and what remains is dark-colored, crumbly organic soil.