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Leaf Mould And How To Make It
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Leaf Mould And How to Make it

Making leaf mould is basically a matter of some work and lots of patience. Once ready for use, its benefits as a soil conditioner are beyond comparison, and, what’s more, it’s free! …well, almost.

As autumn (or the fall, as it’s called across the Pond) approaches, you’ll be wanting to get started with your fallen leaf collection. If you don’t have too many trees on your property then it’s a good idea to scan your environs for gardens that do. If you offer to pick up your neighbours’ fallen leaves free-of-charge, I’m sure they’ll be only too glad for your services. Who knows, they might even pay you regardless.

Beforehand though, it’s necessary to think about how to contain a (hopefully) large quantity of anarchic leaves that are normally at the mercy of even the lightest of breezes. In the parks department of the British Isles, they take this procedure very seriously and for good reason, utilising all sorts of mechanical paraphernalia in order to achieve this, then over-wintering it all in bins of several cubic metres.

Fortunately the likes of you and I can manage this on a much smaller scale. I suggest that you position your leaf mould “factory” in your composting area (if you’ve been paying attention to some of my other articles).

Although you could use a construction of pallets, this is rather like the sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut sort of thing. What I’d suggest is that you obtain a length of mesh about 1 metre wide by, say, 3-4 metres long. Then simply connect it long ways, end to end, with a slight overlap using some light-gauge wire twists to attach it and to form a tube (see photo) and, if my pi is correct, you should have a circular container of about 1 cubic metre. Then stand your tube upright.

Now you have to go out into the wilderness to get your leaves, armed with a spring-rake (one of those fine-twined fan-shaped affairs attached to a longish handle) and a few large, heavy duty plastic sacks. A wheel barrow will also have to be employed for ease of transportation, unless you have the luxury of a tractor/trailer. After which you then need to consolidate the leaves into manageable heaps with the rake.

It’s probably a good idea to wear garden gloves with the rake to pick up your leaves and stuff them into the sack, compressing them as you go with a downward shove of the knee. Actually, you’ll be surprised how heavy the sacks can end up when full.

Now take them to your bin.

As you start to empty the sacks, use the weight of the next one to further compress the leaves in the bin; this will help with the de-composition process. To aid this process you can throw the odd handful of Sulphate of Ammonia as you go but not too much and well-distributed.

When the bin is to capacity, put the last sack, still full, on top of all this (just to keep everything in place for a week or so) then, having put your tools away, walk off in the direction of your kitchen and either put the kettle on, or search your fridge for a can of something. Apart from waiting that’s all you can do as far as your leaf mould is concerned.

Just apply a little patience and your Rhododendrons, Acers, Azaleas, et al will thank you for it!


Street Talk

Nice article, so accessible and so easy, yet has a great purpose. Thanks, will give this a try.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks for reading JoAnne.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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