Mild temperatures this fall left leaves lingering on trees longer than normal in parts of the state. Now homeowners may be left in a pinch as the window to get those leaves bagged and hauled off by a residential waste contractors is closing. But U-of-M Extension soil scientist Carl Rosen says if you get stuck with a pile of leaves this year, it may be a great time to start composting.

“Collect my leaves in the fall, I compost them through the following year. Then the following fall I’ll mix them into the garden , or the following spring before planting my vegetables.”

Rosen says composting science is all about soil health, but for many that was not the original problem to be solved.

“The initial motivation however was more due to sending all those leaves to landfills.”

More information on composting is available online at extension.umn.edu, keyword composting.

Rosen says a compost pile only requires a quick and easy checklist.

“Basically, water, air, oxygen and then they need nutrients. And if you have those in balance then that’s kind of the key to the composting process.”