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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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Post  donnainzone5 Sun 26 Sep 2010, 5:58 pm

On my recent trip to Oregon, while stomping through piles of leaves, a gardening friend said to avoid adding oak leaves to my compost tumbler.

Of course, the soil up there is acidic, rather than alkaline.

I immediately deduced that oak leaves might be just the ticket for my non-MM perennial beds.

On my recent occasional foraging trip to some Japanese nurseries, I stumbled upon--in the very back of the place--bags of oak leaf mold. An employee told me that this is "better than" compost.

The question is, can I also use oak leaf mold as a component of MM? I must say that 1 cf set me back $20.00. :?:
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Oak Leaf Mold Empty Re: Oak Leaf Mold

Post  boffer Sun 26 Sep 2010, 6:14 pm

This will be the fifth year that I've had a small dump truck load of oak leaves (free) dumped at my place. I count it as 20-25% of my MM, depending on what else I find. Stuff grows in my MM-that's all I know!

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Post  WardinWake Mon 27 Sep 2010, 11:39 am

donnainzone10 wrote:On my recent trip to Oregon, while stomping through piles of leaves, a gardening friend said to avoid adding oak leaves to my compost tumbler.

Of course, the soil up there is acidic, rather than alkaline.

I immediately deduced that oak leaves might be just the ticket for my non-MM perennial beds.

On my recent occasional foraging trip to some Japanese nurseries, I stumbled upon--in the very back of the place--bags of oak leaf mold. An employee told me that this is "better than" compost.

The question is, can I also use oak leaf mold as a component of MM? I must say that 1 cf set me back $20.00. :?:

Howdy: About the only leaves that I have read about to avoid in a compost pile are peach and walnut. Both are reported to have a anti-competing substance in them to keep other things from growing. I have not tried either so I can only report from what I have read.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Post  Icemaiden Mon 27 Sep 2010, 1:15 pm

I think the main snag with oak leaves is just that they are on the slow side at decomposing. So you might have some un-composted leaves left when the rest of the stuff is done. If you aren't in a rush, or can sieve out the bits that are not broken down, then it should be very good for your compost.
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Post  Old Hippie Mon 27 Sep 2010, 1:49 pm

Leaves in general are slow to break down but some are worse than others. I have coveted a compost shredder for a very long time but they cost megga $$$$ so have been doing without one. I used to just use the lawn mower with the bag attached to run over the leaves. It shredded them as it picked them up and I would dump it all in the compost. However, we have switched to a reel type mower which doesn't do that. Then I came across a tip that I decided to try. It works like a charm.

As I am raking leaves in the yard I scoop them up and put them in a garbage can that I keep nearby. The plastic kind with wheels and a handle. When I have it about half full, I use my weed whacker to chop them up. It shreds the leaves up in no time. I can then put it in the compost bin or use it for winter mulch around tender plants. They break down soooo much faster after being shredded.

Still hankering after a compost shredder though for big stuff.

GK
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Post  Odd Duck Mon 27 Sep 2010, 4:34 pm

Watch for a leaf/branch shredder/lawn chipper on craig's list in your area. Also be sure to mention it to any neighbors. We used to have a guy in our neighborhood that would always know somebody, that knew somebody, etc. Not 5-finger discount, either, he just knew everybody in the area. Smile

We mentioned to him we were looking for a shredder for small branches/leaves, and he had just driven by somebody's house a few days before where a guy had one chained to a tree in his front yard with a "For Sale" sign. We got ours for a song with barely any use. The guy was doing tree trimming and it turned out it wasn't big enough for him, but it works great for us, we burn anything too big for the shredder when we go camping.

You just never know, we'd been pricing off and on for a couple years, not ready to pay THAT much and we got 1 an hour after mentioning it to the neighbor for less than half what it would have been retail. Very Happy
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Post  Old Hippie Mon 27 Sep 2010, 5:06 pm

Good idea!!! Thx.

GK
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Oak Leaf Mold Empty Make your own leaf mold

Post  camprn Wed 27 Oct 2010, 9:51 pm

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Post  donnainzone5 Thu 28 Oct 2010, 11:48 am

camprn,

What great information about leaf mold! I wish I had access to the right type of leaves. Here, we have mainly eucalyptus, which takes forever to break down.

Yes, it is possible to purchase oak leaf mold commercially, but, as I learned, it's frightfully expensive.
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Post  milaneyjane Fri 29 Oct 2010, 2:14 am

Come on over----oak leaves for the taking. The neighborhood will thank you Very Happy
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Post  donnainzone5 Fri 29 Oct 2010, 11:29 am

Hmmm....

The cost of flying from California to Minnesota and back, plus luggage fees for "x" number of bags of oak leaves....

I could probably purchase 30 or more bags of the commercial kind.

Thanks for the offer, though!

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Oak Leaf Mold Empty Too acidic?

Post  ander217 Fri 29 Oct 2010, 3:55 pm

If you're worried about the leaves being too acidic couldn't you just add a little garden lime to them?
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Post  Chopper Fri 29 Oct 2010, 7:22 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Hmmm....

The cost of flying from California to Minnesota and back, plus luggage fees for "x" number of bags of oak leaves....

I could probably purchase 30 or more bags of the commercial kind.

Thanks for the offer, though!

Not to mention the fact that you wouldn't be allowed to bring them into CA. That would definitely slow you down!
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Post  donnainzone5 Sat 30 Oct 2010, 1:52 am

Chopper,

Because it's an agricultural product? Are there actually prohibitions against importing plant materials from Minnesota to California?

I know that in the old days--50s-70s at least--there were such restrictions.

I'd be interested to hear what you can contribute.
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