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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old December 10, 2012   #1
habitat_gardener
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Default bagging up leaves

On another forum, I learned that jute bags are available in the UK for bagging up leaves. You fill the burlap bag, put it in an out-of-the-way corner for a year (the base of your hedgerow!), and you get leaf mold in a year (or so). The bag keeps the leaves from blowing around, and it decomposes along with the leaves. I think it's a brilliant idea. It would save towns lots of money -- all those trucks that wouldn't be collecting leaves!

I've heard of one place that's giving away free compost bins, for leaves and other compostables -- Montgomery Co., MD. Lots of places give discounts.

This is the first year I've had a nice haul of leaves at the same location as my compost bins (instead of several miles away). So I filled one bin with moist leaves, and I'm hoping for some nice leaf mold in a couple years. I even have extras for my regular compost. But most people around here send them offsite.
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Old December 11, 2012   #2
Redbaron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat_gardener View Post
On another forum, I learned that jute bags are available in the UK for bagging up leaves. You fill the burlap bag, put it in an out-of-the-way corner for a year (the base of your hedgerow!), and you get leaf mold in a year (or so). The bag keeps the leaves from blowing around, and it decomposes along with the leaves. I think it's a brilliant idea. It would save towns lots of money -- all those trucks that wouldn't be collecting leaves!

I've heard of one place that's giving away free compost bins, for leaves and other compostables -- Montgomery Co., MD. Lots of places give discounts.

This is the first year I've had a nice haul of leaves at the same location as my compost bins (instead of several miles away). So I filled one bin with moist leaves, and I'm hoping for some nice leaf mold in a couple years. I even have extras for my regular compost. But most people around here send them offsite.
Agreed. So simple too. It is brilliant!
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Old December 12, 2012   #3
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Houston, and I assume lots of other cities are using compostable bags now. It makes it really, really convenient to drive around and collect peoples' leaves

They're made from agricultural byproducts and "breathe" enough to prevent odors.
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Old March 11, 2013   #4
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There is a coffee house here which sells the large bags that the coffee beans come in at $5 each. Are those jute bags? I put some leaves in a large plastic bag and poked holes in it but I don't think the little rain we get seeps through easily, so I have to open the bags and water the leaves monthly.

But if the jute bag is also going to decompose then maybe paying $5 is not worth it. How about an ex-large t-shirt? If I sew the bottoms together it sort of a cotton/polyester bag. Too bad I didn't see this early Fall when leaves were everywhere.
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Old March 11, 2013   #5
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Ms. Jitomate,
Think burlap
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Old March 11, 2013   #6
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Holy smokes, what a brilliant idea! Even old all cotton t-shirts! I must check at a coffee house close by...jute/burlap bags for free sound even better if I can come by them.
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Old March 11, 2013   #7
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I'm not sure about the economics of this. I wouldn't mind having a few burlap sacks around for different projects, but I can't see the value of stuffing them full of leaves to compost them. The sack has to be worth at least a dollar? To compost a few cents worth of leaves? Just rake them onto a tarp and drag it to the pile.
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Old March 12, 2013   #8
matilda'skid
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Just put them in a pile or as a mulch over your garden. You can chop them up with a lawn mower to make an attractive mulch. I don't have trouble with them blowing around. To me bags are less attractive than leaves. If other people don't save their leaves that makes more for you. Ask for your neighbors' leaves.
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Old March 12, 2013   #9
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Our property has no grass, it is wooded and groundcovered and has a few beds, no grass, no lawnmower. So if I want leaves to compost, it is bag it or fill up the compost bin. I still love the burlap idea.
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Old March 12, 2013   #10
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I have chickens that free-range in my backyard, so they scatter dirt, rock, and leaves everywhere in my urban garden. I sweep it up and replace it by putting it back into the plant area because the rocks are a trip hazard and it looks tidier. They would never leave a pile of leaves alone to decompose. Now, my vegetable garden is surrounded by a nylon netting so they don't come in to do the same thing. It is only 140 sf of vegetable planting area. The idea to compost leaves is because there is a great value in the composted leaves for water retention, improving soil tilth, and food source for micro-organisms. I have never done this before but anything that can help me reduce my water use is worth doing here in Southern California.

You have to learn to live with chickens free-roaming in the backyard. My three bags I collected this past Fall are set aside outside so my chickens don't discover them. You also have to do things differently in urban gardens because they are small, viewed by 3-4 neighbors, and are multi-purpose.

The coffee burlap bag was $5, the garden burlap fabric 7'x7' is $7.50 at Home Depot, and ex-large old t-shirts are cheap, almost free. I like saving money so repurposing other items and making compost saves me money. Everybody lives differently in different environments and this forum helps me know how others are growing their vegetable and how they manage doing things. It might mean readjusting to get the same result. I'm open to all kinds of ideas with good science behind them.
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Old March 12, 2013   #11
matilda'skid
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Now that we have to worry about herbicides in manure and straw, leaves are the way to go. I personally think chopped leaves are beautiful especially sweet gum or oak leaves in the fall when they still have their color.
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Old March 12, 2013   #12
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leaf bins:

recycled chain link fence gates:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_gKF9uqiNAQ...0/MVC-009S.JPG

Decorative bin made of garden border timbers:
http://rockycropfarm.files.wordpress...pg?w=480&h=360
(Notice the concrete blocks under it. That kind of wood rots
when it is in contact with the ground.)

Round leaf bin made of inexpensive, green, plastic fencing
material: http://plot44blog.files.wordpress.co...s-61.jpg?w=820

Pallet bin: http://cdn.thegreenestdollar.com/wp-...in-300x249.jpg

Deer Park tomato beds: http://www.feldoncentral.com/garden/...2/IMG_8498.jpg
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Old March 13, 2013   #13
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Repurposing and recycling - thanks for those links dice. Nice.

Ms. Jitomate, it's great that chickens make poo and you can recyle that as well.
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Old March 13, 2013   #14
dice
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The border timbers and green plastic fencing one has
to buy (although a roll of that kind of fence is cheap,
if not very durable). If one were patient enough, one
could eventually accumulate those fence gates off
Craig's List or freecycle, but usually the person giving
it away to whoever wants it insists that you take one or
more rolls of fence and a pile of fence posts with globs
of dried concrete on the ends, too.

The pallets, though, are everywhere in any urban area.

(I like the Deer Park style: just pile the leaves on the tomato
beds, let the worms do the rest. Appropriate for a warm
climate where warming up the soil in spring is not much
of an issue.)
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Old March 14, 2013   #15
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If you mulch them up fine in the fall, they are dirt by spring. We pile them all into a huge pile in the driveway, run the lawnmower over them until they are very very fine mulch and then spread in in the beds. It not only protects the soil and is a great amendment, it makes the beds look very pretty in the fall.

-Stacy
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