TREGRAHOW
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Re: It's Fall - time to save up those leaves!

I was talking to fellow Plotholders on our allotments site and mentioned the leaf/grass mix as a mulch; as advocated by toxcrusadr and rainbowgardener in response to a previous post of mine. I was warned that fresh grass in a mulch will (allegedly) introduce wireworm into the soil. Apparently, wireworm will bore into root vegetables and also the roots of brassicas. Any ideas??

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applestar
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Re: It's Fall - time to save up those leaves!

I'm pretty sure click beetles (adult form of wireworms) lay eggs in the soil like most beetles. So unless you mix in sod and not just grass clippings, I don't think wireworms would hatch in the mulch. Maybe your friend was thinking about compost piles in which pieces of sod have been added (but sod makes beautiful compost/topsoil once the grass is killed and broken down).

I can understand your concern since wireworms can be such a pest burrowing into root vegs like potatoes.
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toxcrusadr
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Re: It's Fall - time to save up those leaves!

I have never had a problem with wireworms that I know of. Just not familiar with them as a pest. So I'm no help on this!
Tox

nickolas
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Re: It's Fall - time to save up those leaves!

Hi everyone. Its currently spring here in Australia but lucky for you guys its fall there, which is my favourite time of year, the main reason I like fall so much is the autumn leaves. Autumn leaves aren’t just beautiful, they also are a valuable resource for your garden. If you are trying to grow any veggies I would recommend you try gathering up and storing as many of these little gems as you can. My homestead property has very poor heavy clay soil. So every year I travel into the city with the pickup truck and 10-5 trailer (which has 6ft sides) and collect as many as I can to last me the rest of the year. Last fall I collected 8 cubic meters (about 282 cubic ft) of Autumn leaves. And now 6 months later its almost all gone, looks like I will need to get twice that amount next time if I want it to last me all the way through. But something tells me I wont ever have enough xD

I feed some to the worms throughout the year but I use them mostly for the garden. Such as in the compost pile’s, as mulch and dug strait into the soil. There is also leaf mould. Leaf mould can hold up to 500 times its own weight in water so is excellent for improving the moisture retaining qualities of your soil. Its also called the lazy mans compost. You don't really have to turn it like normally and unlike true compost you can jump on the leaf mould pile as much as you like and it wont hurt it.

I am always deeply saddened and disappointed when I drive past someone’s front yard and see them burning a pile of leaves. Such a waste…
Autumn leaves are just loaded with organic matter and nutrients for the garden.

One thing to watch out for is depending on what sort of leaves they can compact limiting the amount of oxygen and water which is much needed by plants. So if you are going to use them as mulch it might pay to try shredding them first.
Leaves in the forest provide about 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients that trees receive. Leaves also protect the levels of moisture that reach the trees and also regulate the soil temperature. So I try not to gather leaves from the same trees year after year.

just watch out for black walnut leaves. Happy gardening folks :)

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rainbowgardener
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Re: It's Fall - time to save up those leaves!

nice post, nickolas! I envy you being in spring... I have a long hard winter to get through yet and it is just starting. We aren't even in winter yet and Mon it will go down to 22...

I have collected 5 large bags of leaves so far. I usually aim for a dozen and that gets me through most of the year in my small garden.
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imafan26
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Re: It's Fall - time to save up those leaves!

The first time I tried to do a compost pile, it actually grew all kinds of weeds. I had too many greens in it and it did not heat up. It became a slimy mess, but eventually I did get about a foot of compost from it. Don't be discouraged. We all learn from our mistakes. My early success was bag composting. It is easy and and while it only makes a little, it solved the weeds staying alive in the compost problem.

It is easy to bag compost. Get a large trash bag, I use contractor bags because they are stronger. Fill the bag with well chopped greens and browns. I find it easier to chop everything on the ground before I put it in the bag. I don't have a lot of browns so I used shredded newspaper for some of the browns. 2-4 inches for each layer is about right. Browns on the outside and greens on the inside. Added a little fertilizer or manure and some soil for the microbe source. Wet everything down after you have done a layer of each. It should be damp not dripping wet. Then I sealed the bag and punched holes in the bag to let air in but not so much that stuff fell out. Piled the bags on top of each other. Once a week, turned the bags. It was the easiest way to turn the pile and I could keep adding bags as I had more materials without interfering with the other bags cooking. In the end, I had about a few inches of compost in each bag. It wasn't much but it was my first success.

I have since graduated, since I still don't have a lot of browns, just tons of weeds and greens, so I do vermi composting instead. Much easier, the worms do the turning.

If you want a lot of compost and you have the space then the standard compost pile is the way to go. The composting forum should help a lot there. Even if your pile does not heat up, cold composting works, it just takes longer and you have to use clean inputs.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

toxcrusadr
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Re: It's Fall - time to save up those leaves!

TREGRAHOW: Kinda slow responding to your question, but if you add a lot of grass clippings to a compost bin, they will turn to a hot slimy mess without some browns. You CAN save grass, it has to be dried in the sun in a thin layer till it's brown. It retains most of its nitrogen that way.

What I do is save leaves (or other browns - sawdust, etc.) in bags instead of trying to save greens. Greens will generally start decomposing immediately whether you want them to or not, but browns can keep a long time without losing the property you need - i.e., high carbon. So I pile leaves into a big wire bin till spring and mix them with all that green grass then.
Tox

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rainbowgardener
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Re: It's Fall - time to save up those leaves!

I collect bags of fall leaves. Then all through the year I layer them in to the compost pile a bit at a time. Every time I add any greens (kitchen scraps, pulled weeds, trimmings, etc) to the pile, I cover them with a layer of leaves. So the greens go in right away as they appear, but the browns are saved up and used as needed to mix with the greens.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

nickolas
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Re: It's Fall - time to save up those leaves!

its finally Autumn here!!! I'm building a new cage for the 10 x 5 trailer soon. bought all the materials today. 1"x1" mesh and 1" angle iron. its going to be 5ft 2" tall. it will hold 282 cubic feet of LEAVES!!!! of course we will use the cage for other stuff but mostly collecting Autumn leaves for the garden. will be doing many trips and filling it up many times. will post pics when its full!



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