Making something useful from leaves that are gathered off your lawn is simple and doesn’t need much in the way of expenses or preparation. All you’ll need is some urea and a compost bin. Both of these items are usually available at garden centers or in department stores that have gardening departments.
Once most of the leaves have fallen, rake them all up into a big pile. Make sure the leaves are dry, and shred them. You can use your lawn mower, a leaf shredder or a wood chipper shredder, but you won’t get good results unless the leaves are dry.
Your next step is to place the shredded leaves in your compost bin. Fill it to about 12 to 18 inches in depth, then add the urea or some grass clippings if you have any around. Then add a small amount of water to this pile. Leaves should be damp, but not soaking wet.
Continue building up layers in the same manner, first the leaves, then the grass or urea, then some water. Once the bin is full, cover is securely, either with the supplied lid or a plastic tarp, so that rain and snow can’t get in, and neither can small animals.
Over the winter, you don’t need to do anything to your composting material. At the end of winter or in early spring, around March, use a pitchfork to gently turn the composting material over. By doing so you will be exposing the buried materials to the air. Now cover it up once again.
The mulch should be ready for use by the time it’s warm enough to start planting your garden. If you prefer compost instead of mulch, just let it sit a little while longer. The only real difference between mulch and compost is the degree of decay of the organic materials. Compost is more like soil in texture, while mulch is still fairly solid in composition. What you want for your gardening needs is a personal preference.
Making compost and mulch from fallen leaves is easy and can be an enjoyable way to fulfill your gardening needs.
In order to shred your leaves for mulch, why not run them through one of those wood chippers shredders that you can buy or rent. Not only will these machines break up the leaves, but you can throw in all those dead branches at the same time for some terrific mulch to keep your garden protected over the winter.