After a spectacular show of golden foliage, the locust tree out front is quickly losing all of its leaves. The leaves are small – not easy to rake up, but excellent for composting. The basic ‘recipe’ for compost is slightly more than half brown stuff, and slightly less than half green stuff. Brown things like leaves and pine needles have high amounts of the element carbon. Green things include grass clippings and other plant wastes that have high amounts of nitrogen. You can also add some dirt to speed up the process. The other important ingredient is water, which helps break down the clippings. You also need to make sure that air can circulate around the pile so the mixture doesn’t rot or get moldy. Autumn is the perfect time to create a big compost pile; you can fuss with it all winter and let it age for the recommended 4 to 6 months, at which time you’ll have a wonderful batch of rich compost for spring planting.