Fall is here, the colors are beautiful, the temperature is perfect, and all is well…until the leaves start to fall. We are tree lovers most of the time, but there sure are a lot of leaves to deal with right now! Solutions include gathering the fall leaves and putting them into paper bags for the garbage company to take to the landfill. Or, I could make an effort to compost them and add them back into the soil. Sounds like a lot of work? So is bagging all those leaves and dragging them to the curb! We’re working on an easy to build, wire compost bin that turns leaves into rich compost to put back into our garden. It’s a much better use of our time and good for the soil.
This new compost pile will be exclusively for leaves and grass clippings. However, we will continue to use a traditional compost bin that we’ve used for 8 years now. We use it to compost kitchen waste and office materials such as raw fruit and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds, in addition to shredded white and brown paper (no colored or glossy paper). I also add leaves and small sticks to this pile if I feel it needs more brown material. I avoid having to deal with weeds sprouting in the compost by never adding them to the bin.
Build A New Compost Bin That’s Just For Leaves!
It seemed like a perfect idea to build a dedicated compost bin for our fall leaves. But even better, we already had a perfectly sized section of wire fencing that will work great for the project. If I recall correctly, we purchased the 5-foot tall roll of wire to circle a hydrangea that the deer were mutilating. Ultimately, we gave up and moved the hydrangea inside the fenced area of our yard. So, that section of wire fencing will soon become a circular compost bin for our fall leaves. It will be located at the back of our woodland garden. Since we have an incredible amount of leaves, where ever we place it would be convenient! It just wouldn’t be a good location aesthetically!
Repurposing Wire Fencing Into A Leaf Composter
The section of wire fencing we had on hand was about a foot taller than we needed for our leaf composter. So, rather than cut it off, we folded that portion of the wire up from the bottom and secured it with steel wire. It worked out well because it reinforced the bottom of the bin and made it more stable.
Now that the height was determined and the folded length was wired into place, the next step was to complete the circle and connect it. We experimented a bit with the circumference and decided how much overlap to keep, then we wired the side of the bin in several places from top to bottom.
Securing The Compost Bin To The Ground
I positioned the wire compost bin within our woodland garden in our back yard. This location gets some late afternoon sun but is mostly shaded. We used 6-inch U-shaped garden stakes in 5-6 places around the new compost bin to secure it to the ground well. Reassured that there would not be a flying or rolling compost bin, the next step was to put it to work! So, I headed to the front yard and fired up the mulching mower.
Compost Frame Is Ready For Leaves
As I mulched the leaves, I took a bit more care to make sure the leaves were being mulched as finely as possible, knowing that smaller pieces will break down faster. The leaves were dry and broke up well. After dumping the entire front yard’s leaves into the new compost bin, significant space remained, and the leaves had not yet settled. More good news is that it rained for a couple of days after completing the leaf compost pile. Now there’s plenty of room for more leaves, and soon we’ll have all of the rest of them on the ground!
This project was an effort to reuse nature’s end of season leaf bounty. I plan to do my due diligence by turning the leaf pile a couple of times a week and cover it for warmth to keep it from drying out, so decomposition will continue. Within 6-months, I expect to be spreading black gold around my favorite trees, shrubs, and perennials. They’ll love me for it!
The work is done in the garden today. I think I’ll take short walk over to our flagstone patio retreat and enjoy the work that’s been done as well as the beauty around me.