Hello, gardening friends. Welcome to
Backyard Basics. So in the fall, the leaves are coming
down. They’re mulch in the ground. The way they’re supposed to in nature. That’s how the soil is built. You go out into the forest, there’s that much compost or more out
there and there’s nobody making compost. It just lays there and decomposes. Well you can do that at home also. You
can either mull over the leaves and let them stay there and break down or what I like to do is gather them,
compost them, and then put them back. And gathering them allows me to have
these extra leaves to put on the compost pile during the season to cover food scraps
that are going in there. And the pile is big enough that I can
take out from the center of the pile the decomposing organic matter. And that decomposing organic matter
after the leaves then becomes this down in the center.
There’s some good-lookin’ stuff right here and I’ll
put that into this strainer and strain it out. These are nice. Y’all need to have one of these. See that, the debris that’s not broken down
is there and then what we get is this material right here in the
front. This beautiful compost to make potting soil with to put back where it
belongs. To make compost tea out of. There’s a
lot of good things to do with it. lLook at this guy right
here this is a giant grub worm. These are not problems. Look I can pick
them up and handle them. You can do the same thing and they become the rhinoceros beetle. Big, old nice beneficial insect that helps decomposing my matter in the garden. So I’d leave those
alone. If they’re in the way and you don’t
like them there, just relocate them. You don’t have to kill them or throw
them very far. These guys are really nice and they’ll
find another spot. Right now, they’re looking at this pile over here and trying to find their way over to it in
order to move into it and be safe once again. This is their first time out in the open.
This question about oak leaves and whether or not they break
down, you can see that they do rather easily and I don’t put a lot of
effort into it. The final product after sitting in the pile for several months.
Moisture is very very important. Moisture needs to be there and then it’ll break down. Now the
moisture that’s in this material right now comes from the rains that have happened.
I didn’t take the hose out there because it mulches itself. That pile is
really nice and doing both of these things, mulching and allowing it to compost. There’s no
heat involved. Many people talk about the heat necessary to make compost. Well
in the forest or in this kind of a pilot home, heat isn’t part of it. It breaks down
naturally. So I think that you don’t have to worry
about somebody’s techniques that are discussed quite a bit. I would encourage you to get a screen
like this or to make your own screen. These are very useful on many levels but
mainly to get rocks out of there. To get debris out there. To get leaves that have not broken down out and end up with a
really really fine product. You know you can’t buy this kind of compost. This is the
best to them all. The commercial composts are out there.
That’s good. Maybe when you need more but this kind of homemade compost, you just can’t beat it. And when you find the occasional little
grub in there or the occasional giant grub in there or some other earwigs and other critters,
they’re all part of the process of breaking down organic matter. It’s the
way it happens in nature. So I wouldn’t worry about those guys.
Move them out of the way and they’re going to be fine. Make a
compost tea. Learn about compost tea making. This is a fine product that you can use to drench in other parts of the garden and it stimulates
root growth and a healthier garden. So the most important thing that the
organic gardener uses is some good compost. From Backyard Basics, I’m John Dromgoole. I’ll see you next time.