Don’t throw away leaves – Make Leafmould!

Boycott the green bin!

Many local authorities collect garden waste, although some, like mine now make an annual charge. The service is of course extremely useful for disposing of green waste such as perennial weeds and woody cuttings that cannot be used at home. It is of course tempting to use it for the piles of leaves that start covering our gardens at this time of year, but try to avoid the temptation. The potential stored in those leaves should not be wasted, make your own leafmould.

Making Leafmould

Green waste produces compost in a year, whereas making leafmould takes two years or longer, some leaves turning quicker than others. Shred the leaves first to quicken the process. If you don’t have a dedicated shredder, spread the leaves over your lawn and use a rotary mower. I find I need to raise the cutting level quite high for best results. Place the leaves in a ventilated container, you can make something using chicken wire although I find I get results with a plastic compost bin. There is nothing to do apart from the occasional check to ensure the pile is moist.

The finished article

When ready, your leafmould will ideally have fully broken down and look quite similar to commercial potting compost. Use it for seed sowing or if (as is common) the texture is not uniform, utilise as a soil improver.

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