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Courtesy of the SGPGA

What do we do with all these leaves? This fall try composting to spare the air and improve your yard.  This time of year many of us find ourselves raking, burning, bagging and trying anything to get rid of  all those fall  leaves from our yards. Fortunately, leaves are a valuable free material for composting, mulching and enriching your soils. Here are a few tips for anyone who wants to try using compost for a good source of nutrients for next year’s gardens and lawns. 


1.   Find a location for the compost- ideally cool in summer and warm in winter.  In our climate compost making follows the weather – quick in summer and slower in the cooler months.

2.  Building the compost pile can be done in several ways.  You can build an easy and cheap structure using wooden pallets. The 3 bays can be used for 3 piles, or 2 piles and one for raw materials such as extra leaves or grass waiting to go on the pile. You can also use commercially available designs, plastic bins, tires, metal fencing, wire mesh, trash cans, cement blocks or just build a free standing pile near where you will be using it next year.

3.  Layer brown and green vegetative matter using your weeds, kitchen waste, grass clippings, and of course leaves in fall.  Don’t add meat scraps as this attracts animals or dog or cat manure which can carry disease. A little soil between the layers is always good, it brings the good microorganisms and bacteria into the pile.  Don’t forget to water it weekly in summer. Composting is not an exact science.  Experience will tell you what works best for you - and happy gardening.  

Compost planning for the City of Yreka is a project of the Siskiyou Gardens, Parks and Greenway Association.  For more information and to get involved contact SGPGA or Ayn Perry at 842-7103.

USDA Composting Handout