composting

I have an half acre, I sweep my lawn ever week and have a nice size mound of grass. I will have alot of leaves this fall. I was wondering the best way to compost these. We are building rasied beds for the garden we are going to grow next year. Thanks Bob
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On 7/14/2008 9:07 AM, Bob wrote:

Mixing grass clippings (green matter) and autumn leaves (brown matter) is excellent. Mix them thoroughly together. Find the best topsoil in your garden and put a bucket of it on top of the pile. Water the pile. Turn the pile over about once a month and make sure it stays moist (not soggy).
After about a year, you should be able to sift it. I made a sifter by nailing four 2-ft lengths of 1x4 lumber to form a bottomless box. I fastened 1/4-in wire mesh to the bottom and handles to the top. I sift over a tarp. Whatever lands on the tarp goes into a barrel. Whatever fails to go through the sifter goes back onto the pile.
Note that my pile is almost 100% leaves (brown matter). I'm getting leafmold, not true compost. The acidic nature of leafmold works great with my alkaline soil.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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I simply mix up the grass clippings and fallen leaves in multiple large piles in a corner of my yard. My compost piles are mainly brown leaves anyway. I sprinkle some fertilizer and top soil onto it.
I mix the content of the piles probably twice per year - or may be three times if I have nothing else to do. My finished composts tend to be a bit more chunky than stored bought version because I don't mix them regularly (mixing composts can be physically exhausting and time consuming that I want to avoid doing). Most are well composted after one year anyway; therefore, I take the easy way out.
I only sift the composts if I need some of them for top dressing some areas in my lawn (like some bare spots that I need to re-seed). I don't sift if I use the finished compost in vegetable garden or flower garden. Sifting cmoposts is a very exhausting work that I want to avoid doing.
Hope this helps.
Jay Chan
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Here, here! I second the motion of avoiding exhausting work! My compost usually has plenty of stuff in it that isn't "done" yet when I dig it into the veggie garden at the end of winter. The hauling and digging are exhausting enough without adding sifting of the compost to my list of back-breaking chores for tilling day. I pull out any unrotted item larger than a bowling pin, but the rest is on its own. The veggies have been perfectly happy with my half-assed job, so as long as they ain't complainin', I ain't siftin'! :-)
Utopia in Decay http://home.comcast.net/~kevin.cherkauer/site
Kevin Cherkauer

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On 7/14/2008 4:48 PM, Kevin Cherkauer wrote:

I sift mine because much of it is used in potting mixes. For my flower and shrub beds, I usually just pile leaves as a mulch, which eventually composts to leafmold without any attention from me.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Time to buy a mulching blade for your mower and improve the soil of your lawn while reducing the need for additional fertilizer and irrigation. If you pile damp organic material out in the weather it will rot. You can get a nice hot compost with leaves and clippings. Or you can just add them to the paths betweeen your raised beds and when they rot away add the resulting compost to your beds.
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