"Hi Tracey." (Blog readers respond - all in unison.)
"I scope out potential hotbeds of leaf raking and bagging activity during the day."
"Uh-huh." (Again, in unison.)
"And, then, I plan return trips to these spots. Under the cover of dark. With a pick-up truck. It is all I think about during my days in the autumn. Amassing as many bags as possible. To shred for my compost bin. My heart races. My palms get sweaty. I may even . . . . duke it out with another gardener for these leaves."
(Audible gasp from around the world.)
"I see I have shared too much."
Decomposing leaves are the backbone of some of the best compost around. You can speed up this process by shredding them (either with a leaf mulcher or by running your lawnmower over a pile). Then, combine with some 'greens' - kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings. Mix all the goods in a compost bin (here are some of my cheap and easy compost bin ideas). Turn the pile, if and when you can.
By spring, you will have the Mac Daddy of compost. Dark. Rich. Smelling great. Red clay? Doesn't stand a chance.