In fall of 2014 one of my buddies sent me a TED talk titled Everything You Know About Composting is Wrong by Mike McGrath. McGrath points out how many gardeners use vegetable scraps and kitchen waste as compost along with yard waste, trying to optimize carbon:nitrogen (C:N) balance and ensure quick breakdown.
Despite this common practice, it still takes a long time for the content to break down into usable compost, and these same gardeners often throw out leaves every year. Why?
In his talk, McGrath makes the argument that we are throwing the most valuable source of compost that we may have: leaves! And it is readily available at no cost! The talk made me think of the many times I've thrown leaves into the garden and finding barely recognizable remnants the following spring, frustrated at finding only a small portion of my compost piles broken down after 10-12 months of lying dormant. Watch it for yourself and hopefully you can learn from the talk as well.
We tried laying down leaves this year, although we got around to it pretty late so the results may not be optimal.