Although you can start composting organic waste from your home at any time of year, autumn certainly ranks as the best season to start composting because of the abundance of carbon-rich materials in the form of crunchy, dry leaves. This plentiful source of carbon is needed to balance the moisture- and nitrogen-rich peelings from the kitchen as well as materials like lawn cuttings and other green trimmings from the garden.

We recommend a material mix of 2/3 carbon-rich (brown) materials and 1/3 nitrogen-rich (green) materials for healthy contents in your YOLO Compost Tumbler. Dry, brown materials absorb moisture, eliminate odours, aid aeration to speed up the composting process and they make your finished compost light and fluffy.

Crushed, dry leaves are valuable composting materials. We usually have plenty of nitrogen-rich materials to add throughout the year with fruit and vegetable peelings and coffee grounds from the kitchen as well as grass clippings. Brown materials are in short supply in spring and summer.

This autumn, make it your mission to gather bags full of leaves while they are readily available (watch this great TED talk on using autumn leaves). Shred the leaves (use your lawnmower) to reduce the volume and stash them to use throughout the year. Small leaf pieces do not clump, they mix more efficiently and decompose faster than large, full-size leaves to give you faster composting turnaround.

When starting a new YOLO shell, begin with a generous dose of shredded leaves to maintain a better moisture balance throughout the cycle. Add scoops of this leaf material whenever you add fresh material from your kitchen. If you plan on going away for a week or two, toss in an extra helping of shredded leaves and tumble thoroughly for moisture absorption and aeration while you are away.

Remember to sniff the contents of your YOLO Compost Tumbler to assess the health of your materials. The contents should always smell earthy. If it smells off, it is probably because it is too wet. Add more of those shredded leaves (lots more) and tumble more regularly and it will come right within a few days.

Once you start using shredded leaves in your YOLO Compost Tumbler, autumn will take on a whole new appeal each year as a wonderful opportunity to replenish your stash.

Take advantage of autumn leaves