Cheap, Fast Compost from Leaves

BobCowmanJune 2, 2013

Hi! Last year we bought a few rolls of green vinyl coated fencing aka hardware cloth. We unrolled it, and cut into sections long enough to make 3 foot diameter circles (+/- 10 feet). Cuts leave "tags" of wire that you use to fasten one end to the other by wrapping (use gloves and maybe pliers). We dumped shredded leaves (got a wonderful leaf shredder with metal blades, not plastic) and then some dirt and fertilizer in layers repeated to the top (about 4 feet). Be sure to wet itdown as you build it up. You will not believe the compost we have already. These are near a wood fence, they get watered from our sprinkler system 1-2 times a week, and that's it. We also paid a lot of money for the black plastic cube bins. They do OK but this technique is cheap and makes lot more compost a lot faster. They have become a raised garden for us now (we are trying tomato plants in two of them now.) The stake goes in easy! Try it. They cost a little time and about $6 each at Lowes ($58 for a 50 foot roll). If you really want to go fast, put a small trail of kitchen scraps in as you build it and then a good bit at the top (put in more every week) nd then throw some red wigglers (or any other worm) in and watch it go!

Here is a link that might be useful: Example of the fencing

This post was edited by BobCowman on Sun, Jun 2, 13 at 11:12

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Yes! the basic wire mesh bin with no turning is marvelous.

I use mine (concrete remesh) for planters with tomatoes and squash - they sink down, I top them off again ... when they finally stop sinking I pry the hog rings open and sift the bin. All the unfinished compost goes to the bottom of a new bin and I start all over.

the finished stuff goes onto the veggie garden or in the raised beds as a top-dressing and mulch.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:48PM
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Bob- can we see a photo of your setup?
Your success might inspire more of us if we could see a photo. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 12:50AM
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The secret, of course, is in the shredding. I used to do it with a weed whacker inside a steel drum, then pile it in a cage, like the OP. The final compost is such a fine material, and spring vegetables grown in it are unsurpassed. But I prefer whole leaves now, because I hate weeding with a passion, and whole oak leaves give me a good season of weed suppression.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 10:33AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

Our 16A wooded rural property produces TONS of leaves. We leave them in the woods but the ones that blow up against our shop building and cover the limited area of grass we maintain, have to go somewhere. This spring I took an old roll of rusty fencing and made 3 circles about 8 ft. in diameter and 3 ft. high. We piled and stuffed leaves into them like nobody's business. They've already sunk down to 1-1/2 ft. high (with all the rain). I just can't wait till next year to get some leaf mold. We have no indoor plumbing out there so I visit the leaf corrals to make liquid nitrogen deposits.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:45AM
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