How many leaves does it take.......

Asked November 17, 2018, 8:51 PM EST

I just bought my first house in Eugene. One of the biggest factors in buying this home was the large backyard to grow a garden. I grew up with my Dad's garden and am very excited to establish my own. The house was empty for about two years, although it looks like the previous owner was a gardener himself. Where I want to put in the garden, there looks to be grass/sod. I started a compost pile with kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and the apples from the tree in my yard (it has it's own pruning needs from two years of neglect) and am collecting leaves from around the area to cover the top of the intended garden area. I am generally of the belief that the more leaves the better, knowing the actual leaf compost will be a mere fraction of the leaves I put on it. I have also requested what will hopefully be 14 cubic yards of leaves from the city of Eugene, but the delivery is not guaranteed. I am planning a variety of vegetables for the garden (i.e., tomatoes, peas, pumpkin, kale, spinach, and the like). Is there a recommended minimum of leaves or subsequent compost you would recommend? Are there any other programs to help me make/get compost? Once spring comes, I will till the soil to combine the current top soil with the compost I am hoping to create over the winter. Thank you for your help!

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

My rule of thumb is to apply 3-4 inches of leaf cover over the area I wish to cultivate for next spring's garden. It also depends on how large of leaves you put down and how fast it will break down. If you have larger leaves, it's best to shred them if you can, creating fast-composting mulch and assist in weed suppression. You can also till it in more often to mix the carbon from the leaves to the nitrogen of green material (such as grass). The more often you mix it up, the better your composted leaves will break down the organic matter.

I hoep this answers your question. Good luck!