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stella1751
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Re: What works best

rot wrote:..

Whether slow composting with little to no turning or hot composting turning at optimal frequency, the best way is the one that works for you. Some folks like making the optimal mixes brewing their teas while others just like to pile it up and let it rot.

My slow bins are in an out of the way place on pavers where the worms crawl up and do the work for me. I start with 4 to 6 inches of dry woody stuff on the bottom and add all sorts of junk over the course of a year. After it's topped, reduced and topped again a few times I just water for around a year. I just applied one of those and it was like shoveling a giant brownie.

My hot bins cook the weeds and the seeds and provides me with compost here and there throughout the year. After the hot ones cool down, I'll seed with worms and by finishing time I usually have more worms than I seeded. The hot bins get turned once a week. About two months from top to finish on those.

The two different types work for me. I don't work them that hard. They fit into the way I do things and the stuff I have on hand.

Make it work for you and not the other way around.

to sense

..
Good post, Rot! I am in complete agreement. This summer I began experimenting with what I call mini-composting: Smaller DIY composters I can use just for my kitchen stuff and small garden waste throughout the summer. For a variety of reasons, some bullheadedness, some poor luck, I never completed the experiment. (Next year, by golly, I WILL drill those holes in it, and I WON'T forget to water it!)

What you have described is the way I will be composting next year. I'll have my monstrous piles and my monstrous wire cages, but I'll also be playing with compost on the smaller scale with my DIY bins. No matter how we do it, we are all achieving the same goal: feeding the soil.

BTW, I loved your imagery: "it was like shoveling a giant brownie." :D
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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Sorry stella; missed your query the first time...

PAWS stands for [url=https://www.middlebury.edu/administration/recycle/compost.htm]Passively Aerated Windrow System[/url]. The folks at Middlebury College (home of one of my green heroes [url=https://www.billmckibben.com/]Bill McKibben[/url]; Bill's who taught me about [url=https://www.350.org/]350[/url] and just what that means. Talk about importance of composting...) are using Paws to dispose of their cafeteria waste; I believe Paul Sachs from[url=https://www.moodoo.com/]VT Natural Ag[/url]helped them set up (Paul's one of the old guard who started doing this long before it was cool and has taught a lot of folks the importance of composting).

Moo Doo is a fine product that I have used and a fine way to increase biodiversity in your pile; always sweet and finished, something that cannot be said for all bagged products. I have always been happy with [url=https://www.coastofmaine.com/]Coast of Maine[/url] products which just keep getting better. The new wormcastings look great, and my garden started with a lot of their [url=https://www.coastofmaine.com/soils-quoddy.shtml]Quoddy Blend[/url]; loaded with lobster shells which activates chitinous bacteria that deter many bugs, and the [url=https://www.coastofmaine.com/soils-penobscot.shtml]Penobscot Blend[/url] with all the mussel shells helps to deter slugs AND adds calcium to the soil! Plus almost all the mixes use salmon compost as a component and you know how much I like fish (good bacterial AND fungal food)...

But this sort of product tends to be regional and I just know the Northeast. Around Philly, [url=https://www.organicmechanicsoil.com/]Mark the Organic Mechanic[/url]is putting out a very nice compost potting mix; designed his own bag to keep aeration and allow CO2 to escape, ensuring that the biology arrives ALIVE at your place. 8)

But search your area to find the guy doing it right. There's a Paul Sachs or a Mark Highland in your neighborhood too. When you find them, tell us about it...

HG
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gixxerific
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A lot of you are talking just leaves in a pile. What about leaves and grass that can't be wrong can it. I had a puny pile yesterday. Today I have a 12' long 5' wide 3-4' tall pile of leaves and grass mostly leaves though. Of course there are sticks and maybe a few pumpkins in there. I would hope this would do just fine. I already took my tiller into and mixed it up real good than watered it deeply. What are the chances of this actually decomposing by spring?

Another thing I use an old Miracle grow dispenser for watering cause it has a nice pattern to it when on the hose. No Miracle grow though just water. I put some molasses in it along with some fish emulsions. Do you see anything wrong this way of applicating. Main problem I foresee is that molasses not breaking down enough to actually get sprayed out. Seemed to work okay though.

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Not at all gixx; do it just that way myself all the time. Keep in mind that city water has chlorine which let's face it, is ther to kill the bacteria and fungii we are trying to get, which is why I tend to use my rainbarrels and watering cans, but I know that if I am broadcasting a big area (like doing the lawn with fish) most of the chlorine volatizes pretty quickly in the air and what is left cannot compete with fish and native biology. Not optiaml, but o.k. And sometimes o.k. is good enough...

And of course leaves and grass mixed is fine too, combining carbons and nitrogens is what it is all about. Some of us just like to custom blend a little more; fungal stuff for shrubs, bacterial stuff for flowers and veg. But compost is pretty much good for whoever gets it; they tend to adjust things to their needs themselves anyway. Rot and Soil have the right idea; living things Rot and become Soil. Period. Ashes to ashes is bad carbon management (combustion puts the carbon in an atmospheric form, and we are already about 28 ppm too far there now); dust to dust makes much better sense. So we compost :mrgreen:

[url=https://www.daypoems.net/poems/2069.html]This Compost by Walt Whitman[/url]

HG
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I hear the talk of fungal and bacterial but I don't fully UNDERSTAND the whole concept yet.

But I have been composting my way all my life, everything all put in together. I do have a pretty big pile. I will have to turn it a bit to get it going or it will never be done by spring. I have it in a section of my garden that I want to use so it better be done.

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Tonight's the night. All around me, homeowners are toting bags of leaves to the curb. I passed some on my way home today, but I made a point of looking the other way, just in case someone saw me staring at them and coveting them, and decided to call in a suspicious person report to the local PD. I will feel more comfortable stealing them under the cover of darkness, which should be in about three hours.

Have I got what it takes to steal leaves on a grand scale? Sure, I've pilfered the odd bag or two, but those were impulse thefts, a matter of seeing, wanting, and taking, the organic gardener version of shoplifting. I've never before contemplated larceny on such a major scale before. I feel like I'm planning a bank heist. I should have made blueprints of the neighborhood. I wonder whether I should black my face?

If you don't hear back from me, hey, it's been fun. I'll probably be sitting in an 8'x10' cell at the Wyoming Women's Correctional Facility, asking my cell mate what she's in for. I'll tell her how it all began, twenty-some years ago, when I bought a spade and my favorite organic gardening book, the one by Shepherd.

Wish me luck :lol:
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gixxerific
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I'm not sure that kind of talk is allowed on here..........

I think about you and the others every day. Where I have been working is the more rich part of metro St. Louis. They have leaf pick up by the city today. More than half of the houses had HUGE piles of leaves out by the street today to be sucked up. They might be 60+ ft long and 4-5 feet high. There is dump truck after dump after dump truck truck loads of leaves around that area.

Have you thought about asking them? I'm sure they wouldn't mind. One man's trash is another man's gold, golden leaf that is.

:wink:

.....at least no by me :cry:
Last edited by gixxerific on Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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GOOD LUCK, STELLA! :()

Apparently, my township (or county) still has one of those leaf vac trucks. People are piling their leaves in the street. I'm guessing the vac truck is coming soon. This makes leaf taking a bit more difficult. I made off with 4 wheelbarrow-fulls of my neighbor's pile. Also raked up 3 wheelbarrow-fulls from my own front yard. I have to catch my other neighbor before she dumps her decorative Jack-o-lantern bag full of leaves in the street (Last year, I missed my chance and saw her son dumping the leaves out just before the vac truck came).

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applestar wrote:I made off with 4 wheelbarrow-fulls of my neighbor's pile.
Applestar, this one sentence made me laugh so hard my dogs came running, worried that I had finally snapped. I just got this visual of you racing up the street with a wheelbarrow full of leaves, casting anxious glances over your shoulder :lol:

Gix wrote
I think about you and the others every day. Where I have been working is the more rich part of metro St. Louis. They have leaf pick up by the city today. More than half of the houses had HUGE piles of leaves out by the street today to be sucked up. They might be 60+ ft long and 4-5 feet high. There is dump truck after dump after dump truck truck loads of leaves around that area.

Have you thought about asking them? I'm sure they wouldn't mind.
Gix, we've got a leaf sucker up here; sometimes we call it the wind or, if we're feeling poetic, Mariah. Most of the time, though, we call it a discouraging word while we watch the deer and the antelope blow past, legs flailing. I think most of our leaves wind up in Idaho.

I got twenty bags. What a score! I could have gotten more, but I decided that these 20 plus the five that one neighbor gave me plus the five that my neighbor across the street promised me will be more than enough to get me through until next fall.

Best of all, I only had to go to one place to get 'em! I decided to hit a retirement community near me first. They don't have dogs--I think that's a rule--so I wouldn't have poop in my leaves and I wouldn't have dogs barking about my presence.

You will never believe what I found. They stack all of their bags together. There were three stacks of bagged leaves on the first street I hit. I took two stacks of ten before I decided I had enough.

Here's another benefit of stealing your leaves from a retirement community: Hearing problems. I don't think anyone heard me come or leave, honest. I kept waiting for someone to come to the window and peek out, and no one ever did.

I wish I'd thought to do this before. All summer long, friends have been bringing me grass clippings, and I haven't had any brown to layer them with. I just stacked the grass clippings, waiting for fall.

Next summer will be different 8)
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Do leaves do well in one of the black plastic compost bins? Not clear if you have them over there. Bit ugly but they do the job and keep things from blowing about the place. Tend to keep too much moisture in.

Loads of leaves around here. As soon as it stops raining I will be out filling up my bin.

We have green bins collected weekly for biowaste so most people will put their leaves in there, so no chance of picking up extra.
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:lol: Stella, glad to add hilarity to you and your dogs' day. :lol:

Ermintrude, I'm sure plastic compost bins will serve just as well, just be sure to add/maintain sufficient moisture to begin with since lidded bins usually don't collect enough rainwater.

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I don't seem to have the problem with the plastic bins being too dry they seem to keep the moisture in and things end up a bit slimey.
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I found myself thinking about leaves all day yesterday -- the pick up is on Monday -- I missed out on some bags I passed on sunday on my way to dinner! ARGH...

We have a street sweeper -- but I beat its coming -- I swept the street in front of my house and 3 of the neighbors. But none came out to say anything -- however ... there was some grass clipping in my neighbors driveway --- I didn't go for those -- he was home and had company... I wonder if they are still there..the clippings.. not the company.

I came out with 3 bag fulls --- now to get that bin built....

I am becoming an addict.

Silvia

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Ermintrude wrote:I don't seem to have the problem with the plastic bins being too dry they seem to keep the moisture in and things end up a bit slimey.
The slime may be too many greens not enough browns, or possible not enough aeration. The leaves would definitely help if it's all greens.

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I am so excited to start a leaf pile! Last year I hoarded a bunch of leaves to mix in with my greens in the regular compost pile because I didn't know that I could start a leaf mold pile.

If I had more space I would be camping out at neighbors' houses ready to pick up leaves. We don't have a leaf pickup on our suburbia street, I guess people's property sizes can't hold enough trees to justify a city-wide leaf vacuum truck.

Anyway, I fully take advantage that most of my neighbors don't compost. They are so happy when I come by to empty their green bins for them. Hee hee... :twisted:

Stella - I was laughing out loud at your stealth leaf collection tips. If I had the room I would be following your lead. Well done! :D

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I too was out under the full moon stealing leaves! On my way to the grocery store and discovered that someone had about a dozen big yard waste bags full of leaves out at the curb. Not sure why since our city discontinued yard waste pickup, but there they were! Couldn't resist.

Of course, my car trunk and passenger seat happened to be full of boxes of books to take to the used book store. So three giant bags stuffed full of leaves, almost as tall as I am (not saying a lot :) ) got wrestled into the back seat of my two door car. I'm sure it would have been quite an amusing process to watch. Then my groceries ended up on the shelf under the rear windshield.

The things we do for love... I mean leaves.

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Yesterday I topped off the bins that had shrunk, and I made three interesting discoveries:
  • One of my neighbors delivered his leaves in see-through bags. I think they might be those bio-degradable trash bags, but I'm not certain. Anyway, his leaves, collected two weeks ago, had already begun to seriously mold, unlike those in the one black bag I dumped in.

    Next, because I'm out of green, I topped one of the piles with one of what I thought was my "failed" mini-composting experiments. With the exception of some pine shavings I added a few weeks back, the stuff was all composted! It worked.

    Finally, it occurred to me that I don't know what to do with leaf mold. Do you just add it like you would compost?
Lazygirl, now that I know the ringleaders in the retirement community leaf collection, those whose houses had the piles in front of them, I think I'll ask next year. If they say no, I'll steal 'em anyway. Those are some seriously trash-free leaves! :twisted:
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The image of you folks rushing round grabbing bags of leaves has given me a good laugh.

Not doing very well in comparision, managed to sweep up a couple of bag fulls from the other side of the street.

Must say that the last lot of grass clipping which have a good % of leaves are rotting down very nicely.
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Ermintrude wrote:The image of you folks rushing round grabbing bags of leaves has given me a good laugh.
Yeah me too, but I have truckloads of leaves not 3 min from my house. Of course I have to rake or shovel them up, but it's basically limitless for me.

If you all need any I will hook you up. 8)

By the way, those of you stealing leaves in the cover of darkness. I aint' down with that, I go out in morning with full sun. Really who's gonna mess with a psycho like me piling my truck full of leaves off the side of the road. :lol:

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stella1751
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gixxerific wrote:By the way, those of you stealing leaves in the cover of darkness. I aint' down with that, I go out in morning with full sun. Really who's gonna mess with a psycho like me piling my truck full of leaves off the side of the road. :lol:
Gix, in the legal sense, we are not stealing. Once people set out their trash on public byways, it becomes the property of the public. Admittedly, my actions look deceptive, done under the cover of darkness. However, that's a courtesy. In a day and age of continual solicitation of our elderly by all kinds of unscrupulous parties, many of them, my mother included, dread answering the door to a stranger. By not pounding on their doors late at night, I probably spared the homeowners unnecessary stress.

In fact, I think we are performing a public service. The ones I took were almost in the middle of the street. What if some sweet elderly woman driver had leaned over to fix her makeup in the car mirror and swerved into all those leaves? Blinded by flying leaves, she could have panicked, ramming into someone's house, car, or riding lawn mower. Think about it. I probably deserve a medal for the role I played in Casper's fall clean-up.

I do hear you, though. Next year, now that I know where to get the goods, I will ask. If they refuse, I will know that they are hiding something, that they probably stashed something besides leaves in those bags, that they are probably eco-terrorists out to destroy the city's municipal compost maker. Again, I will feel I am doing a public service if I steal those leaves, which I will first dump heavily on the lawn of someone I dislike. If they don't explode, I will take them home :lol:
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Hold on now Stella, I'm not downing you at all. I'm an anarchist by all means.
I was not saying you are bad by doing what you are doing. You took me all wrong. I applaud you for it as a matter of fact. I was just making a joke about hiding in the shadows, where being the self proclaimed nutcase I am don't hide and do it front of everyone. No offense Stella sorry If I came off that way.

If only you knew all the stupid crazy stuff I do. :lol:

On your one post where you describing the "nights heist" I was loving every word of it. Actually jealous of the words you were saying. Seems some people don't like the words I sometimes use and was banned for a day, right after I told you I could be banned in that PM. I wanted to tell you that I would be happy to be your wheelman on that night of illgoten leaves, but was afarid I would get kicked off again.

We are good Stella forever and always. Peace! :flower:

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gixxerific wrote:Hold on now Stella, I'm not downing you at all. I'm an anarchist by all means.
I was not saying you are bad by doing what you are doing. You took me all wrong. I applaud you for it as a matter of fact. I was just making a joke about hiding in the shadows, where being the self proclaimed nutcase I am don't hide and do it front of everyone. No offense Stella sorry If I came off that way.
Sorry, Gix. I seriously thought you were questioning our (read: my) morality :oops: I had fun justifying the exercise, though, laughing while I wrote that I probably deserved a medal for stealing leaves, so we're good. Criminal acts are all about perception, I suppose. I steal leaves. I like stealing leaves and will probably continue to do so. When you get to be my age, you take your fun where you can get it.

However, I use the "hot" leaves to make compost for a garden that produces for the local church. Hey, I like that play on words. The leaves are already hot, so my compost should heat even more quickly than before. Shucks :D
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Well guys you have got me at it. Was down the street looking for piles of leaves. Did not fancy loading them up in the dark but will be out first thing tomorrow. Driving around I find myself spotting new sources.

I really hope that mixing them next year with grass clippings I will get much better compost.

Had a bit of a run in with contaminated manure this year so am looking for something else to feed to my beans.
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Ermintrude wrote:Well guys you have got me at it. Was down the street looking for piles of leaves. Did not fancy loading them up in the dark but will be out first thing tomorrow. Driving around I find myself spotting new sources.

I really hope that mixing them next year with grass clippings I will get much better compost.

Had a bit of a run in with contaminated manure this year so am looking for something else to feed to my beans.
Welcome to the gang, Ermintrude! I had a run in this year with contaminated compost from the municipal compost site, so I am determined not to have to use any of its compost again. I think I got enough leaves to get me through the year, but as my compost piles continue to shrink during what is proving a warm November, I am starting to regret not having gotten all 30 bags :cry:
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I hope i don't get any contaminated compost! But I think the way they are doing it here it should be good.

Welcome to the late "night early morning leaf gang" Ermintrude. This is the first time I had to look for leaves for my garden. Before where I lived I had so many in my yard it almost became a nuisance. :shock:

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"The Management neither condones nor decries the pernicious purloining of arboreal detritus, neither does it object or attest to the exchange of information leading to, or deriving from, any less than legal behavior on the part of any of the clinical kleptomaniacs that seem to congregate here. Indeed, the Management wants to make clear it's position, that it was blindfolded, with it's fingers in it's ears, making the NANANANANANANANA noise the entire time.

Honest.

The Management"

Y'all give a whole new spin on guerilla gardening... :roll: by hook or by crook, compost happens :lol:

HG
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:"The Management neither condones nor decries the pernicious purloining of arboreal detritus, neither does it object or attest to the exchange of information leading to, or deriving from, any less than legal behavior on the part of any of the clinical kleptomaniacs that seem to congregate here. Indeed, the Management wants to make clear it's position, that it was blindfolded, with it's fingers in it's ears, making the NANANANANANANANA noise the entire time.

Honest.

The Management"

Y'all give a whole new spin on guerilla gardening... :roll: by hook or by crook, compost happens :lol:

HG
I think I can speak for the rest us by saying "We don't have any idea what you are talking about. We were at home drinking cocoa and playing with kids while watching TV"

Honest.

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Kleptomania var. folium is becoming an addiction.... I was driving home from work after dark and happened to spot some more curbside bags of leaves. Couldn't stop myself from screeching my car to a halt on the wrong side of the road, leaping out, throwing a couple bags in my trunk, and zooming off again. I probably already had enough without these extra ones, for my small property, but you never know and next spring if I'm wishing I still had more fall leaves there won't be any around for the taking... :)

So I'm telling myself that I'm done now, I don't need to keep watching the roadsides for leaves, but I don't know if I can give up the thrill of the hunt!

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If I have urges to empty people's green bins for them or fantasize about raking up someone's leaves under the cover of darkness does that make me a Kleptomania var. folium? :D

If so, then who am I to pretend I am anything else? Everywhere I go now I see little piles of gold in the street and on lawns... and I really struggle to keep on my way to work and not scamper on their lawn to stuff leaves in my pockets. :lol:

Hello my name is Lazygirl, and I'm addicted to leaves. It all started a few months ago when I saw this post on the compost forum about leaf piles... Yes, I am a leafaholic.

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:lol:

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rainbowgardener wrote:Kleptomania var. folium is becoming an addiction.... I was driving home from work after dark and happened to spot some more curbside bags of leaves. Couldn't stop myself from screeching my car to a halt on the wrong side of the road, leaping out, throwing a couple bags in my trunk, and zooming off again. I probably already had enough without these extra ones, for my small property, but you never know and next spring if I'm wishing I still had more fall leaves there won't be any around for the taking... :)

So I'm telling myself that I'm done now, I don't need to keep watching the roadsides for leaves, but I don't know if I can give up the thrill of the hunt!
LOL, Rainbow. HG and Lazygirl, too. I always laugh when I read a new posting on this thread.

Even though I have a huge pile of bagged leaves, I want more. I keep glancing across the street to my neighbor's house. He has a huge lawn, as yet unraked. He promised me his leaves. Will he rake? Will he not rake? Has he forgotten me? Or . . . is he just toying with me, sadistically enjoying the longing glances I keep casting in his direction? When I see him out and about, I quickly look away, acting casual and whistling a tuneless melody.

I want MORE leaves :x
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I KNOW! I asked my neighbor for the contents of the decoration bag, and also gathered up his raked leaves from the street. Their in-laws saw me as they were driving away and the Grandmom was STARING at me out the car window the whole way, so I flashed her a big grin :()
There is a huge pile of leaves just as I enter my street but it's too far for wheelbarrow runs. Maybe I'll take my DH's pick up.... 8)

Kleptomania var. folium :lol: I see it's a *Pandemic*.
and HG :lol: and Gixx :lol: Hilarity all around! :-()
What a happy morning. :wink:

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It is sometimes said that the sense of humour is different either side of the Atlantic. But certainly not here amongst the leaf mould.

Rather than raking leaves from the lawn I use the mower - it picks up the leaves and gives them a good chop into the bargain. Much less work.

Saw someone out with a leaf blower, hope to go round and clear up the pile of leaves.
Growing Veg is fun.

rot
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

geez lou eaves

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Chop up leaves mixed with grass clippings - ka-ching.

I've spread leaves on the lawn before mowing just for that effect.

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The Helpful Gardener
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Smartest organic fella I know is [url=https://plantscapesorganics.com/]Mike Nadeau at Plantscapes[/url]who teaches for NOFA, and Mike stopped leaf removing and went to mowing/mulching on a lot of his properties, and years later he's still a fan; likened it to topdressing with compost. With a squirt of compost tea on top of it to get the ball rolling? Fuhgeddiboutit...
8)
:mrgreen:
HG
Scott Reil

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gixxerific
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

The Helpful Gardener wrote:Smartest organic fella I know is [url=https://plantscapesorganics.com/]Mike Nadeau at Plantscapes[/url]who teaches for NOFA, and Mike stopped leaf removing and went to mowing/mulching on a lot of his properties, and years later he's still a fan; likened it to topdressing with compost. With a squirt of compost tea on top of it to get the ball rolling? Fuhgeddiboutit...
8)
:mrgreen:
HG
Sounds like a smart guy. What I don't bag for garden purposes ends up on the lawn. I'm gonna do the ACT treatment this year on the lawn. I need to find one of those siphons for your faucet that suck it up out of the bucket and adds it incrementally.

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applestar
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

When you get one, can you explain to me how it's supposed to work because I have one and have not been able to get it to work correctly. It seems like a simple enough device.... :?

vermontkingdom
Senior Member
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: 4a-Vermont

What a joy to read about all these crazy folks out there collecting leaves! I have enough but all these postings created additional leaf envy. On my way to church yesterday I passed a house three streets down from us with a huge pile of bags on its lawn. A guy was raking so I asked if the leaves were available. Yes, indeed although he seemed a little surprised I would want them. It took four loads in my Neon to get those 38 bags to my backyard. By the way, much to wife's disapproval, I'm also able to get 22 five gal. buckets of horse manure in that little sucker.
"Good gardeners do not have green thumbs. They have brown knees, soiled hands and big hearts."

SkyKero
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Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:58 am
Location: Georgia

I never thought I'd have manure envy :)

I am coveting the leaves in my mom's yard -- Next weekend...

S.

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soil
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Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:40 am
Location: N. California

woo hoo i was driving down the road and this guy had a HUGE pile of leaves. at least 8 ft tall. i asked what he was doing with them and he said burn pile!!!! i offered to save him the trouble and took it all. time to start a new leaf mold pile.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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