You probably knew this was coming? After all, compost piles are the "environmentalist's" answer to all of the world’s problems, right?
Now, you’re again probably thinking, “are you nuts, there isn’t a compost bin in the world big enough to hold all of the leaves that drop from the trees in my yard!”
If that’s the case, rake them to several simple wire bins tucked into corners and hidden among shrubs throughout your property. Mix the leaves with a couple of shovelfuls of soil, twenty gallons of water, and relax. Next spring pull the bins apart, spread the decaying leaves throughout the beds and cover them with a thin layer of fresh mulch just like in the “leave’m where they fall” scenario. If this doesn’t work for you, you might want to consider “sheet” composting?
Sheeting composting is nothing more than spreading leaves to a depth of one to two feet over your vegetable and/or annual flower garden and shredding them with your mower, or not. Next, sprinkle a one pound coffee can full of 5-10-5 garden fertilizer per 100 square feet of leaf-covered garden, dig or rototill the leaves and fertilizer into the ground, and water thoroughly. By next spring, most of the leaves will have started to decompose at which time you can turn the garden again and plant right through whatever clumps of leaves remain. The decomposing leaves will continue to add organic matter and small quantities of organic “slow release” nutrients over the course of the growing season!