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Thread: Are leaves always a good thing to rototill in?

  1. #1

    Default Are leaves always a good thing to rototill in?

    Putting in a garden for next year. About 8 inches down the ground is hard clay. What I have rototilled is also somewhat clayee. My compost pile never finished composting so I am going to let it continue working. I have another pile of shredded and mostly non-shredded leaves from last year that are hald way broken down. They are a black mass that is quite moist. I shredded so of it and it came out looking like black dirt so I guess it was getting close to being compost. I decided to just spread the whole pile on my garden and till it in. It will add organics to the dirt and make it more able to hold water and permit drainage. My question is, since the leaves where not properly composted can they actually do harm to my soil? It seems to me that any organics added will have to be an improvement. What do you think? It will have till nest spring to decay further.
    Last edited by sofasurfer; 09-02-2017 at 10:56 PM.


  2. #2
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Leaves are generally a great amendment for most any soil.
    What kind are they?......Google them.......That will tell you how to use them.

    Sounds like you are well into the composting process.....I would just spread and till in.

    Most will break down quickly, except maybe oaks, ....take a long time to compost,...but will last for a longer time... shredding helps......
    I have found they help keeping root maggots at bay.

    Walnut trees and leaves have a toxin that does break down but takes awhile....composting leaves is best first...breaks down the toxins faster
    https://www.extension.iastate.edu/ne...jul/070701.htm

    Try to not till leaves in, when too wet....make round hard balls of clay held together with the leaves....

    Used to be able to burn leaves (now city says no)...so one year it's rake, spread, and till....following year, spread burn..then till.

    With herd clay....you want to put in some extra effort....start a double digging process...at least to start with.
    https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/g...ging-why-do-it

    For my compost bins, I use two bins......one to start and fill all year....the in fall (or spring)...dig out the top, not so done yet layer, and place on bottom of the second bin.
    That leave you the "good stuff" from the bottom of the first....then start over.

    This will work with piles as well but they need to get turned over as they tend to get too wet and won't really break down as well....IMO

    Two bins...made from pallets...and 4' X 4' X 4'....about the prefect size ...for me.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    As a general rule of thumb, brown stuff adds carbon and green stuff adds nitrogen. Generally. Just remember that every time you add stuff to your soil you change it. It's always a good idea to know what your soil is when you get ready to plant so take a sample in next spring and have it tested a couple of weeks before you plan to plant. They will tell you what your pH is and what amendments, if any, you will need to add. That can be a big bit of help.

  4. #4

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    I put chopped oak leaves in a pile for the summer. Last fall's chopped oak leaves go in this fall's garden and tilled in. By spring there is very little sign they were added at all.

    While I'd consider composting the leaves of any walnut (hickory, butternut, or pecan) if you have any of these in your yard, put your garden well away from the actual trees if you can. At least outside the drip line plus some. They shed a toxin from their leaves and roots that will kill or maim many of the more tasty garden plants. Especially tomatoes and peppers. Here's a good list of what is affected and what is not.
    https://www.extension.iastate.edu/ne...jul/070701.htm
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowKey View Post
    I put chopped oak leaves in a pile for the summer. Last fall's chopped oak leaves go in this fall's garden and tilled in. By spring there is very little sign they were added at all.

    While I'd consider composting the leaves of any walnut (hickory, butternut, or pecan) if you have any of these in your yard, put your garden well away from the actual trees if you can. At least outside the drip line plus some. They shed a toxin from their leaves and roots that will kill or maim many of the more tasty garden plants. Especially tomatoes and peppers. Here's a good list of what is affected and what is not.
    https://www.extension.iastate.edu/ne...jul/070701.htm
    That site has been posted......#2
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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  6. #6

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    Sorry, missed that.
    If we are to have another contest in…our national existence I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism & intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition & ignorance on the other…
    ~ President Ulysses S. Grant

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