A container that allows in air and water would probably break them down more quickly, and they wouldn't smell as bad afterward.
do be careful where you are getting your leaves from that there aren't chemicals or diseases you don't want to bring into your property.
i used to get bagged leaves from friends and from town ..but there are diseases on the trees and so i stopped bringing them onto my property...sure it is a great source...but not if you are bringing unwanted microbes into your own space
I put leaves across the whole garden 6 inches deep, by spring, they had broken down and made the most incredible soil when tilled. One of the best garden's ever.
Honest, it is hard to get too many leaves. Natures way of building soil.
If I were on my game this autumn, I would sit at the entrance to one of the several "yard waste" drop off sites around town, or the local commercial composter, and divert those who approach to my truck, or directly to my 1/4 acre city lot. (Drop-offs charge these citizens money to take their debris, and then the composters resell the finished product at a profit!) Likewise, if you are in the land of lawns like me, hook up with a lawn-cutting crew to divert their endless trimmings.
ruth stout mulching in the city.
paul wheaton wrote:
Hmmmm .... I would be a little cautious about using leaves instead of hay for a ruth stout technique. The leaves can mat and choke out air and water. Maybe mixing in lots of twigs and sticks would mitigate this.
I just took a pitch fork and drove it threw the mass, worked great. Just punch a bunch of holes every six to twelve inches. Decay started around these holes and quickly spread.
Brenda Groth wrote:
actually it can break them down quite a lot..esp if they are damp when they are bagged..the bags keep the moisture in so they don't dry out..
That's exactly what I meant, with the opposite sort of tone.
If the moisture level isn't right to begin with, they won't break down quickly, or they won't smell so nice.
The city runs the leaves through a mulcher, and then I carry these to my chicken's who finish 'em off by scratching and adding their droppings. I have zero smell in my chicken house and area due to the leaves. All this then goes all over my yard as soon as it is broken down - very good stuff.
Haha well, from first-hand experience: not a problem. Can't "choke out air" any more than your average compost pile or garden soil at 12" of depth ("Humanure Handbook" anyone?). Basically forms a layer of "fluffy" soil. Will slow down flow of water in all directions if dry, but... that's good! Most leaves (that I've ever used) do not "mat" except under waterlogged anaerobic conditions (wetland muck, plastic bag) -- in my garden they curl up and crack when dry, or they disintegrate when wet. (I'm talking here about 12" of leaves max.) I'm always digging around in them anyway.
"Maybe mixing in lots of twigs and sticks would mitigate this."
My first impulse would be to mix in something with a little more loft. Thick-stemmed weeds would also have the benefit of adding N.
You might also try to neutralize the tannins. If your soil is alkaline, maybe just a thin layer of soil interleaved every few inches of oak litter would help. I suspect a light dusting of charcoal every few inches deep would also help.
I never NEVER rake leaves... just use the mulching mower and bagger and voila, ready to put on the garden or in the compost.. This wud probably speed the oak leaves into humus too...(If they wud ever fall off the dumb tree).
If it is sawdust from raw logs, it will rot much easier than sawdust from kiln dried lumber.
Sawdust from hardwoods will rot quicker than sawdust from rot resistant wood.
However, most of the sawdust we get for our bucket toilet is raw cypress sawdust and it works fine for humanure composting but is slower to compost.
However, I would not expect even raw moist sawdust to do much over winter sitting in a garbage bag. I would definitely want to add a richer Nitrogen source to it and compost it more.
Leaves left moist in a garbage bag can become a useful leaf mold mulch over winter.
What I did was lay these over top of some raised beds, cut holes in the bag, and transplanted veggy starts. The bags lasted for one season but were nothing but shreds by the spring. I called the manufacturer and they said the bags were non-toxic, including the ink.