What do you do with fallen leaves from the garden? Dump it or burn it? Propose a to do otherwise – cooked from deciduous litter a lovely compost, which will help boost fertility soil on -, achieve generous crop and save on purchase organic fertilizer.
Advantages and disadvantages of sheet compost
It is hardly necessary to talk again about the outstanding advantages of humus, prepared on the basis of manure and bird droppings — such organic fertilizers have no equal. But the luxury of their use without any financial investment can afford only the villagers who keep livestock and poultry.
From urban gardeners to purchase manure and litter now finding a significant dent in your pocket. Leaf compost is inferior to such fertilizers in nutritional value, but cultivated plants respond perfectly to it and will never give up such a yummy. So why spend money on the purchase of manure, if at hand there is a free material?
Ripened leaf compost quickly saturates the soil with humic compounds and trace elements and effectively restores soil fertility. When embedded in the soil, it perfectly improves its structure: sandy soil adds moisture capacity, and clay – breathability.
Not fully decomposed leaf mass (young compost) – a great product for mulching vegetable and flower crops. Flowers and vegetables do not suffer from diseases characteristic of fruit trees and berries. So in this case, to make compost, you can use the leaves, even from the sick gardens.
The only drawback of leaf compost is the acid reaction. When applied to the soil, it will reduce its pH level, so it will require the use of deoxidizers (dolomite flour, lime, chalk, ash, etc.).
Circulation of sheet compost on the site
Depending on the technology of preparation and species of trees from which the foliage was taken, the full maturation of the leaf compost will take 1.5-2 years. If you do not help the compost to ripen, this process will last longer.
That was a valuable fertilizer you have on hand each season, I propose to build on the site with just 3 of composter. In the first you every autumn will lay the next batch of fresh litter. In the second compost at this time will be held maturation of last year’s mixture of leaves and earth. And the third tray to this point will provide you with fully ripened compost.
The contents of the third compost you the same fall can put on fertilizer beds, or postpone the procedure until spring. Do not tighten with the use of ripened compost, because the third tray to the next summer to be released. It is needed in order to shift the ripening leaf mass from the first “barn”into it. By transferring the contents of the first compost bin to the emptied one, you can move the contents of the second tray to the first.
This “shuffling” of compost will significantly accelerate its aging. Shoveling the contents of compost, you saturate it with oxygen, which is necessary for useful microorganisms and earthworms for normal life, and without their help to prepare fertilizer will not work. Transshipment should be carried out at least 2-3 times per season. The work is laborious, but extremely important.
The lazy option is the only manufacturer of 1 of composter. Fill it with leaves and earth, and in the following season periodically turn the contents — lay out on the ground and return back. Next fall, young compost mulch perennial plants or beds with winter crops. Ripening of such semi-finished fertilizer will continue in the new season already “in place”. The same autumn you can fill the vacated capacity with a new portion of foliage.
If you do not spare money on your favorite cottage, you can go the easiest way and buy ready-made compost. Such devices will save you from the hassle, and will help for many years to get valuable leaf compost.
Less well-off summer residents adapt for this purpose old barrels, tanks, cast-iron bathtubs and even dense garbage bags of 200 l and more. The main rule when using such improvised means-holes in their walls, which will ensure the flow of air to the maturing humus mass. The contents of these containers will also need several times per season shovel: shift from one to another or pour on the ground, covered with film, and then return back.
The most time-consuming option-the construction of a stationary compost with 3 compartments of boards, slate, tin and any other improvised materials. In the walls of such a device it is necessary to leave gaps or make them out of durable mesh. If you build a high compost, make one side of it collapsible, then easily get to the contents.
Technology of preparation of sheet compost
After the fall of leaves, collect fallen leaves and lay it in the tray, interspersing layers of earth 5-10 cm thick. If the leaves and soil are dry, be sure to pour them with water. Owners of the lawn, can add to the content of mown grass-it will accelerate the aging of humus. There it is permissible to lay down soft-stemmed tops of vegetables and weeds without seeds, as well as kitchen waste of plant origin.
It is 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 purchased nitrogen preparation (urea, ammonium nitrate, etc.), prepared at the rate of 20-30 g per 10 liters of water.
To 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 immediately. To do this, at the stage of laying organic sprinkle its layers of wood ash, dolomite flour, slaked lime or chalk.
Over the next season, in addition to regularly shoveling ripening compost, you will need to periodically moisten it with water. Useful will be a solution of mullein, urea, which you moisten the contents a couple of times a season. Be sure to take care of the lid on the composter, if you have made it yourself. It will be required to protect the organic mass from drying out in the summer heat and from leaching during prolonged rains.
A simpler way is to cover the compost mass dense film and make holes in it for air. And do not forget to collect a handful of earthworms in the garden and run them into a pile. After a short time, they breed in a nutritious feather bed in huge numbers and accelerate the aging of compost.
How to determine that the leaf compost is ripe
Fully ripened leaf compost is a loose homogeneous mass. In it you should not find the skeletons of leaves or undigested remnants of other waste, which laid with the litter. In Mature compost will not earthworms: they will leave the compost when it runs out of food. A distinctive feature of Mature leaf compost is a pleasant “forest” aroma.
What 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. It is not necessary to use the litter under Juglans regia, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Vaccinium uliginosum, and Rhus Cotinus — it is better to use for making ash. Avoid Quercus and Corylus if you decide to restock foliage in the forest.
Slow down the aging process of compost leaves Acer, Castanea and Crataegus-they are very dense. Such foliage is better to grind first garden shredder and only then lay in the compost.
Properly prepared sheet compost will be a great help in the country economy. This natural product is the best impact on the health of crops, will help to achieve a generous harvest and will save on the purchase of store fertilizers. Do not give up such a good idea! In addition, now is the right time to realize the idea in life.
Surely, among the readers there are those who have already mastered the technology of preparation of sheet compost and had time to appreciate its advantages. Share your experience and impressions with us in the comments.