If you have never composted, then autumn is a great time to have a go at it.

I am not a great composter I don’t have the time to measure out portions of green and brown product, check moisture and pH levels or turn a pile weekly. I find it is all too time consuming and confusing.

But in Autumn I do a lazy compost system that rewards me greatly in the months to come.

I love Autumn – the coloured foliage, the milder weather, which is so great for gardening in and it is the best time to make compost if you have deciduous trees dropping autumn leaves.

I don’t compost in a traditional sense – that is using bins or piles that need tending. Most of my household green waste goes to the chooks so I am generally just trying to compost garden waste that I know the chooks will not like.

I generally make compost in situ – which means I will find a spot that needs organic matter added to it or I have a garden bed that needs to increase the soil depth or an area I am making into a new garden bed, this is where I dump all my lawn clippings, pruning’s and weeds.

I then just let it sit and eventually it turns into a rich humusy soil. It can take a while, usually about 12 months but it is an easy option if you have the space and little time.

Whist I do this process most of the year it ramps up a level in autumn for a number of reasons:

  • Autumn leaves make great compost and I have a lot of deciduous trees hence a lot of leaves.
  • I like to clean up the leaves off the lawn. If Autumn leaves are covering a lawn and then get wet, the leaves form a wet soggy impenetrable mass that within a few days will kill the grass underneath, so it is always a good idea to get them off any lawn area.
  • The garden is generally in slow down mode so I have a bit more time

Autumn leaves covering the lawn.

For good compost you have to have a balance between nitrogen product (green) and carbon product (brown).

This can get very confusing and the ration varies depending on what you read, so I give up.

But the ratio of Autumn leaves (Brown) to lawn clippings (green) during autumn seems to be just right because it composts down to the most amazing soil with absolutely no effort from me.

So what do I do.

I pop the catcher on the lawn mower (the push variety – It is good exercise) and run it over the lawn.


It gathers up all the leaves as well as the cut grass. By running over the lawn with the mower I am chopping the leaves into smaller pieces which is will allow it to compost quickly (increases the surface area apparently) and you are also dispersing the grass clipping evenly through the dry leaves which also aids in composting process.


What comes out of the mower, leaves and grass all chopped up and evenly dispersed.

What comes out of the catcher can either be used as a mulch around existing plants, at a thickness of 5-10 cm or placed into plies or sheet composted cover an area with a thickness of 30-40 cm.Water well and in 6-8 months in will have broken down into lovely compost.

If you want the process to happen quicker put it into piles or a bin and keep it moist and turn the contents over with a fork every week.


A pile of Autumn leaves left to compost


Autumn leaves used as a mulch

So as you can see composting autumn leaves is simple thing to do and rewards you with mulch and compost, at very little cost.

So instead of blowing the leaves away or putting them into the bin why not use them on your garden.

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Happy Composting