COLLECT LEAVES AND BAG THEM TO MAKE LEAFMOULD – SECOND WEEK IN DECEMBER 2009

There is certainly a shortage of money in the country but there is no shortage of leaves, in my garden atleast. And as the Mamas and the Papas would say ‘all the leaves are brown’. Time then to make leafmould.

Leafmould is similar to composting. However on a forest floor it is fungi more than microbes and other ‘compost friendly’ bugs which break down  layers of leaves. Leaves are more fibrous than the soft vegetable matter in a compost heap. Therefore making leafmould can take about three years whereas reasonably good compost can be made in about one year.

This is why leaves are collected and stored separate to a compost mix. The result of waiting for leaves to break down is worth it however. The end result is a crumbly, clean and earthy ingredient for seed compost minus the egg shells and twigs that often appear in rotted down compost.

I had a mind to just let the leaves rot down in the garden naturally. However when a friend almost slipped on the leafy driveway surface, I resolved to bag the offending leaf fall.

I also resolved to do the bagging quickly as spare time is in short supply these days. First I took as large and heavy duty a plastic bag as I could find. Using rake and gloved hands, I stuffed the bag with any leaves covering the paths and driveway. I tied the top of the bag with an old shoe lace to close it. Leaves need air to attract the fungi required to make the leafmould. Final job therefore is to jab the bag a few times with a garden fork so the air can circulate inside it. Then I tidied away the 2009 collection of leaves. This collection will be joined by a 2010 bag of leaves next winter and so on. In 2012 I look forward to opening the 2009 bag and using the leafmould which I hope to find mature and ready be an ingredient in my home-made seed compost.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ray on December 11, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    If, as I assume, you have left an area of nettles for wildlife support,
    then use some of them in your compost.
    They act as an accelerator of the composting process.

    And they’re good to eat, and as an addition to soft cheese.

    Reply

    • Adam, a Chara,
      Nettles pop up here and there but have no patch of their own. I do enjoy them in soup. I’ll try your suggestion for soft cheese once the nettle grow up in Spring.
      Le meas glas,
      Trevor

      Reply

  2. Posted by hester scott on December 25, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Hello. Really good site – more interesting than many on allotments. I find with leaf mould production you have to start with wet leaves or they’ll do nothing. The inclusion of a small amount ofgrass mowings well shaken in will help things along, also give the waiting bags a good shake up and turn them over occasionally, rather like plumping pillows! Hester

    Reply

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