Steele: Fall provides free compost materials

I save labour in fall and spring and the cost of buying and getting mulch transported to my place.

I love the glorious autumn colours.

Although I’m sad when the leaves have fallen, the practical side of me is delighted—all that free compost material.

Here are tips for using nature’s bounty.

Easiest is to mimic nature, leave leaves where they fall to create a closed loop waste system.

I’ve done this for ten years under my honey locust tree. Leaves mulch the tree and perennials under it.

In a conventional landscape, leaves get raked, bagged, and hauled to the municipal compost. Mulch is purchased in spring to spread around plants and trees.

By mimicking nature, I save labour in fall and spring and the cost of buying and getting mulch transported to my place.

I also help the environment—reducing the need for trucks traveling to and from the landfill.

My driveway is covered in a golden carpet of tiny leaves. Once all have fallen, I’ll sweep them to spread on a garden.

While sweeping, I’ll enjoy bird song as long as no one turns on a leaf blower. If you have a tree with large leaves such as London plane or tough leaves like oak, it’s good to shred them with the lawn mower.

Smaller particles speed decomposition.

My friend was despairing over too many leaves from her giant maple tree. I suggested she mow them. She tried unsuccessfully. I didn’t know she only had a push mower.

I heartily commended her for this but suggested borrowing an electric mower for leaf shredding.

Once shredded, leaves can be spread on garden beds or layered into a compost pile.

Smashed Halloween pumpkins are ideal to use in alternating layers with leaves. Collect them from neighbours before they go into the green bin.

Wait until all leaves have dropped onto a lawn before doing the final mowing.

If you have a mulching mower, simply leave the clippings to add nutrients to soil and turf.

Another closed loop waste system, all nutrients in grass clippings and leaves are returned to the soil to feed the soil food web. It decomposes the materials to make nutrients available again to lawn and tree roots.

This builds up the water-holding capacity of the soil, conserving water.

Now is when I begin walking my neighbourhood looking for bags of small leaves I can haul home in my car.

If you live in or near old Glenmore and have too many small leaves, email me and I’ll gladly take them away.

I spray some water into the bags then seal them up. By spring they are full of ready-to-use leaf mould compost.

The process doesn’t work with clear plastic bags but any colour will do. This can also be done with a pile of leaves under a tarp. The key is to wet the pile as you make it and weight down tarp edges.

Just Posted

West Kelowna winery’s Festival of Trees returns

The fundraiser for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation will return for a third year Nov. 22.

Okanagan pubs pour support for prostate

Vernon and Lake Country restaurants taking part in Pubs for Prostate

New era for West Kelowna Warriors with new ownership, management and culture

The Warriors’ revealed the team’s new president and outlook for remainder of the season

World’s largest Indigenous tourism conference hits Kelowna

The Syilx, Nlakápamux and Secwépemc Nations are hosting the 2019 IITC

Canadian Mental Health Association launches Kelowna initiative to improve workplace mental health

Known as “Thoughtfull” the initiative aims to work with employers to create a healthy workplace

VIDEO: Canadian allergists’ group wants Benadryl behind the counter due to side effects

Some doctors say the medication is over-used because of its easy availability

Yelling at your dog might hurt its long-term mental health: study

Researchers find dogs trained using negative reinforcement are more ‘pessimistic’

Vancouver Island soap company releases Lucky Lager beer soap

Beer-infused olive oil soap comes out just in time for holiday shopping

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

Singh is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday

Community uses loophole to paint 16 rainbow crosswalks after B.C. council says no

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Workers’ camp at LNG facility in Kitimat takes shape

Extensive worker camp now being assembled

Former B.C. youth pastor guilty on one of five sexual assault allegations

Judge cites reasonable doubt in finding Cloverdale couple not guilty of majority of charges

238 and counting: Vancouver gelato shop sets Guinness World record for most flavours

Vince Misceo has come up with 588 different flavours over the decades

Salmon Arm pilot takes part in Remembrance Day flyovers

Hamilton McClymont and other pilots pay aerial tribute at several North Okanagan-Shuswap ceremonies

Most Read