It’s the time of year to turn all those unwanted fallen leaves that have landed on your lawn into Leafmould – a product packed with nutritional qualities and benefits for your garden. There are plenty of leaves around at the moment and it’s easy as well as absolutely free to make, so read on for our tips on how to compost leaves into Leafmould.
Not only is Leafmould easy to produce, it also enriches and improves the structure of soil and helps to protect plants when used as a mulch. When used as a soil improver, Leafmould will boost the water holding capacity of the soil meaning plants will retain their moisture for longer.
Leafmould can be made for literally no money at all, requiring just a bin bag and a little effort. Simply collect all of the fallen leaves either by hand or with a garden vacuum if you have one, and place into a black bin bag. Moisten the leaves with a sprinkle of water, tie up the bag loosely, and pierce holes in the bag with a garden fork or knife to let the air in. Then leave out of sight for up to 2 years for the leaves to decompose.
It’s also very cheap and easy to make a box frame from chicken wire and stakes to use as your Leafmould bin – just make sure you construct it in a sheltered position in the garden to prevent the leaves from blowing away. When building the cage ensure the sides aren’t too tall, as you will need easy access to the Leafmould when it is ready for use. Simply pile up the leaves in the cage and turn occasionally to aerate the mixture and speed up the decomposing process. Make sure the leaves don’t dry out by giving them a sprinkling of water every now and again if the weather is dry.
It’s a good idea to shred the leaves before composting as this will speed up the process even further – some leaves such as Walnut and Sycamore take longer to break down than Oak or Beech and will benefit from shredding.
After 2 to 3 years the Leafmould will be ready to use either as a peat substitute, or as a soil conditioner. It’s also perfect to use as a mulch around the crowns of annuals and perennials to help them retain moisture in summer.