How to Kickstart your Composting Efforts this Fall

Whether you use a blower or a rake to get the leaves off your lawn this Fall, the dilemma will arise of what to do with all those piles of leaves. (You do know that you need to get the leaves off your lawn…right?)

One of the easiest and possibly the most beneficial thing you can do with the large piles of Fall leaves in your lawn (besides jumping in them first and/or taking your family’s fall pictures)  is to compost them. Composting is fairly simple and with minimal time and effort, can give you a rich, organic, and completely free soil amendment for your lawn, flower beds, and produce gardens.

This is especially helpful here in Atlanta and all of North Georgia, because our ground is mostly compacted clay. Once you have a good supply of compost, you can mix it in with your soil to improve plant growth and health.

Check out this great post on making a compost bin from True Value.

Here are the key steps described in the post:

Step 1. Choose the Composting Location 

Step 2. Construct the Composting Area 

Step 3. Add Composting Materials 

Step 4. Maintain the Compost Mix 

Step 5. Use the Compost 

You may also want to check out Pinterest for other ways to create a compost bin to meet your particular needs.


It may sound obvious, but start by raking or blowing your leaves into a pile. Have a large tarp set out before you begin to help you more easily and efficiently transport the leaves from your lawn to your compost pile.

Also obvious, you will need to have a destination ready for your leaves before you begin raking them up such as a compost pile or bin. Composting will likely mean that you’ll be mixing kitchen scraps and other organic waste. Think about your destination from this perspective…but don’t make it too close…Compost bins can be odoriferous. 🙂

To expedite the breakdown and decomposition of the leaves, shred your leaves with your lawn mower prior to raking or blowing them into a pile, or use a leaf shredder to shred already raked leaves.Turning the pile is important for complete composting because it will introduce needed oxygen for needed bacteria and for controlling odor.

  • If the pile is too dry, materials will decompose very slowly. Add water or organic materials
  • If the pile is too wet, turn the pile and mix the materials, and add dry materials.

Compost made from leaves is high in nutrients, attracts earthworms, absorbs and holds water to better than soil alone, and provides many other benefits. Perhaps best of all, it is a completely free and yearly renewable source of nutrients for your yard and gardens. Once you get started, you be amazed at how much compost you create with minimal effort.

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