When used as a soil amendment, we turn the leaf mould into the soil to the depth of a spade. After the compost pile in the first bin heats up, it is transferred into the second bin. You also need to keep the compost warm, around 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 C.) or warmer, and moist but not soggy. Composting leaves makes a dark, rich, earthy, organic matter that can be used like soil. Leave the bag for up to two years to break down into leaf mould. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Your email address will not be published. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to Amazon and other companies linked to on this site. To speed up the process a shredder will help cut the leaves into smaller particles expediating the process significantly! Collecting fallen leaves is a project rather than a one-off task, so you are going to have to keep at it. Home-made compost can be generated from all your plant prunings – woody or otherwise – lawn clippings and fruit and vegetable peelings from the kitchen. In addition to using them to make leaf mold, fallen leaves can also be: Left to lie where they fall, to add fertility to the soil below. First, we mow over the leaves with a mulching lawnmower. Some grass clippings are dry and not all that nitrogen-rich! Over the last few years, Home for the Harvest has grown into a popular home & garden site with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. This speeds up the amount of time needed to make leaf mold. Pile leaves up separately in a bespoke leaf mould bin or cage and you’ll have the perfect material to use for mulching and potting in years to come. Just be careful that you only dig it out from the pile when you are sure there are no creatures hibernating underneath. It is very good to add to your garden. Unlike a regular compost bin, making leaf mould compost is done in an open container, with a mesh net holding your leaves in place. Make leaf mould instead. The grass clippings will add a source of nitrogen to your compost pile. Making a leafmould bin . "Hi Suzanne. Here's how to make a bin 60cm square by 90cm high - if you change the dimensions, make sure you can still reach easily into the bin to remove the leaf mould. Outgoing links in this post may be affiliate links in which this site receives a portion of sales at no extra cost. In my experience it doesn't matter whether you site these bins on concrete slabs or directly on the soil - you can make good compost on both. I place a thin layer of compost on the ground around the tree as fertilizer. Dry leaves will help the pile retain air voids (wet mats of leaves will decrease the air in the pile). This nutrient-filled liquid can be used as a fertilizer called "compost tea" in the garden. When you are making leaf mold I would not worry about keeping it small. Place the load of leaves into the open compost bin or onto the designated spot. Construct a container and afterwards fill it with autumn leaves to make leaf mould compost. Smaller gardens can also benefit from making leaf mould by collecting the fallen leaves in bin bags. How to Compost Leaves A wheelbarrow is perfect for transporting the shredded leaves to the compost bin. Green mold is seen in compost with a lot of food waste. Leaf mould is an excellent mulch which can help improve your soil condition and protect plants from water stress during periods of high temperatures during the summer months. Leaf compost bin Activity. Can you make leaf mould in a compost bin? Once the leaves have been adequately shredded, we rake them up into piles. Unlike a regular compost bin, making leaf mould compost is done in an open container, with a mesh net holding your leaves in place. Leaf mould can be used as a mulch, as a soil amendment, as a substitute for peat moss in containers and raised beds, and it can be added as brown matter to your compost bin. It helps to improve soil structure, improves drainage (in heavy/clay soils), improves moisture retentiveness to assist in drought, and adds healthy beneficial micro-organisms and fungi to your soil. It’s also great for those with space restrictions and those who can’t build permanent compost bins. Lastly, leaf mold compost makes perfect organic plant food! To avoid the issue of the wind disturbing them, I find a plastic sheet on top with a brick usually does the trick. And you can make it too. I'm MJ. There is a far easier way which involves using bin liners to make leaf mould, especially if new to leaf mould. Good leaf mould can hold up to 500% of its own weight in water. If you are wondering how best to mulch and what the benefits are, why not read my guide on how to mulch here. Change things up and take notice of how the pile behaves. If you are making larger quantities, construct a cage from chicken wire and wooden posts and store gathered leaf litter in this. Manchester, Liverpool, Southport & Cheshire Garden Design Specialists, There are two methods to make leaf mould compost. I don’t know of any gardener than likes cleaning up leaves, but come the Autumn months it is something that most gardeners need to tolerate. This takes about half the time of the traditional method and guarantees you amazing leaf mould compost in about 12 months. Used as a component in raised ‘lasagna’ beds, a no dig garden or sheet mulch growing areas where they will compost in place. Logged Gardening organically on chalky, stony soil. Leaf mould makes an excellent mulch and is a key ingredient when making homemade potting and seed composts. Traditional way – for large amounts of leaves (2 years +) Quick bin liner method – Smaller amounts of leaves (12 months) The traditional way of making leaf mould involves creating composting bins of at least 1m x 1m in diameter. Also, It will take more time to prepare than ordinary compost using kitchen waste. Don’t let the fallen leaves kill your lawn if you don’t want them to. The end result of leaf mould is an invaluable additive to soil. Because it can be difficult to create a pile with an exact ratio of 30:1 carbon to nitrogen, I generally err on the side of excess carbon because I’d prefer the pile take a bit longer than to have a slimy, smelly mess in my yard. Add water if dry and wait. Compost requires four things: carbon-rich material, nitrogen-rich material, water, and air. Not been very successful tho. We’re not experts in hantavirus and can’t provide medical advice here of course! Leaf mold compost is a simple process that allows you to break down your fallen leaves for future use in gardens and flower beds. In fact, a second bin can be helpful to catch the liquid that leaches out of the first bin. Ideal places are behind sheds or slightly shady spaces. Hi Llew, Leaf compost (leaf mould) is what lies on the floor of a woodland. It allows you to make leaf mould and experience its benefits before committing to building custom permanent leaf mould compost bins. Insects do not survive the composting process. But…I do like to have lots of compost! My basic mix, which I use for seed sowing and for potting-up plug plants, bulbs and tomatoes, is a 50:50 mix of three-year-old leaf mould and worm-worked garden compost, both … After about two years the resulting leaf mould can be used to add to potting compost, containers and beds. Turn the pile after two weeks, or once the bin fills up. Keep them separate from your general compost in this jumbo leaf mould composter - a simple and effective solution. Use the hose or watering can to moisten the pile. Site the bin somewhere out of the way and fill it with layers of leaves as they are collected, treading down the pile periodically to get more in. Leaf mould compost is an excellent way to rid yourself of wet slimy leaves and enrich your garden with a nutrient-rich compost. Additional Information Collect them together in either A naked pile (they may blow around though) A wire cage or a compost bin. Leaves from conifers and evergreen trees can take up to three years to compost down, so are best shredded and then added to a traditional compost heap. You should have beautiful, grainy leaf-mould within a couple of years. Insects do not survive the composting process. Note that not all leaves are created equally. The bin should be no smaller than 18 gallons, and it must have a lid. It is an ideal ingredient in seed and potting compost mixes. Essentially, leaf mould is a soil conditioner which increases the water retention of soils vastly. There is nothing like being out in the garden. The layer of leaves should be about 10 cm thick (4″). Turn leaves into beautiful free leaf mold compost. Use it as mulch or incorporate it into the soil, or both. 4. If you have a lot of autumn leaves, you can make a simple metre-square leafmould enclosure out of four stout corner posts and a pen of rot-proof, fine-mesh netting. Just try to approximate as best you can and adjust your recipe as you go to suit your unique ingredients. To make compost, a compost bin is ideal. Remember, this won’t add much nutrition to your soil, but this will help the soil … m.). You get some exercise while you work on your compost. Year-old leaf mould is pretty good, too – add it to shop-bought compost for new pots, up to 25% of the overall volume. Rapid composting kills all plant disease producing organisms if done as described. Restrain yourself unless you can be sure the trees haven’t been sprayed with pesticides. Leaves can be put in a compost bin but they can give the bin a bigger percentage of brown waste, reducing its effectiveness. Added to a general compost heap or bin. Used as a mulch, as is, around mature trees and shrubs elsewhere in the garden. Making a leaf bin . Welcome! Keep reading for more info on using leaf mold for soil. Dianne Oxberry ‘Sunshine Garden’ for BBC North West, Traditional way – for large amounts of leaves (2 years +), Quick bin liner method – Smaller amounts of leaves (12 months), Garden Shredder (if you’re really in a rush for the good stuff!). It can be hard to create the perfect compost pile in your yard right off the bat because of the variation in C:N ratio between various source ingredients. Compost is the engine that keeps our gardens and allotments productive. Making leaf mold or leaf compost, or using leaves as mulch are the main three ways we, as gardeners, can put dry, fall leaves into good use. The resulting leaf mold is low in nutrients—it’s mostly carbon plus minerals. Spread a three-inch (7.5 cm.) Good quality, well-rotted leafmould (more than two years old) can be used as seed-sowing compost, or mixed equally with sharp sand, garden compost and good quality soil for use as potting compost. White mold is commonly seen growing on woody materials in the compost. How to Use Leaf Mould. ... How to make leaf mould - easy, free garden fertiliser! Leaf mould is incredible for seedlings and propagating plants. Decomposing leaves also act as a mulch when left on the ground, smothering unwanted weeds and providing habitat for small creatures. Composting leaves is an easy way to transform them into DIY natural plant food. If you plan on adding fallen leaves to your compost, or even simply focusing on creating leaf mould compost you can make the job of collecting them much easier with this set of leaf grabs. Are they crazy? We have only a two-bin compost system, so we don’t have a storage bin (the third bin). Trees fill their leaves all summer with nutrients drawn from deep within the ground. Nitrogen-rich coffee grounds have a C:N ratio of 20:1 (note that while coffee grounds contain more nitrogen than leaves do, grounds still do contain 20x more carbon than nitrogen). Leaf mold is not as rich in nutrient value as completely composted leaves but it is easier and quicker to make. We just place finished compost around the yard as soon as it’s done. Sometimes I top the layer of compost with a layer of fresh shredded leaves for added winter protection. Any leaf can make leaf mould but some rot down much quicker - oak, alder and hornbeam for example - than others. Collecting in bin liners. Yes, you can easily make leaf mould in a compost bin. Shredded leaves on the other hand, break down quickly in a compost pile. There is a variation on making leaf mould using plastic sacks this involves adding the contents of the Bokashi bin to the plastic leaf mould sack containing dry leaves during the winter months. As far as pH goes, pine needles tend to make an acidic leaf mould. You can use a standard compost bin to make leaf mould too, but bear in mind that you won’t be able to put other garden waste in it for quite a while! If space is tight, you can make leaf mould perfectly well in a black bin bag. See our list of the 5 most common mistakes people make when composting, and how to avoid them for a great compost pile. Reply. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. then you are making regular compost and not leaf mold. Just follow these steps Shred your leaves with a shredded or your lawn mower. However, unlike traditional compost, leaf mould is created through a fungal-driven process rather than a bacterially-driven process. link to When To Fertilize Blueberries: Seasonal Plant Food Timing For Blueberry Bushes, link to 32 Camping Gifts Perfect For Outdoorsy Friends Or Nature-Loving Family Members, this excellent small-scale composting guide from the Cornell Waste Management Institute, Fall Leaves (lots of different types of deciduous leaves is perfect), Coffee Grounds (or other nitrogen-rich organic material such as grass clippings or manure), Watch to see when the leaves fall to the ground. Without added nitrogen, composting leaves are slow to decompose. The Benefits of Leaf Compost. I don’t have time to be out there measuring the temperature, investigating the moisture content, and turning the pile all the time just so that my compost can be done in a couple months. Store the bag(s) somewhere out of direct sunlight. You may not realize this, but the International Association of … But if you have the space and time, then leaves can be a great way to make extra compost for your garden. 1. But if you add a nitrogen source to it (greens, manure, etc.) Wondering when to fertilize blueberries? Experiment with your ingredients and you’ll learn what works best for you in your environment. Compost retains moisture and repels weeds when used as a top dressing or mulch. Why Make Leaf Mold? You should be aware of the fact that leaf mould is not compost. Put leaves into a plastic bag, punch small holes in the side, and leave sealed for a minimum of twelve months. This tutorial explains exactly how to make leaf compost from your fallen leaves into nutrient-dense fertilizer for your garden. Make Compost. Add to Soil. Hello I make 35 bags of leaf mold a year I chop the leaves first with a rotary mower ,oak leaves take longer to make so I mix them with other chopped leaves after a couple of months with a blower vac in vac mode walnuts make compost quickly if chopped as they are leathery and take ages if left whole,photo of last years crab apple walnut and chestnut leaf mold mix Leaf mould, which is made just from fallen autumn leaves, creates a humus-rich compost that can be worked into the soil to create the kind of rich conditions you might find in woodland. Add an equal mix of green and brown materials. As a soil conditioner, to add fertility to your growing areas. You can make a dedicated leaf mould bin for them (see picture), make a loop of chicken wire attached to an upright post, or just stuff them into a plastic bag. A wire cage or a compost bin. Leaf mould is a great organic method for creating homemade compost. Many gardeners, especially those with abundant access to leaves, will have use for all three leaf products: compost, mold and mulch. You can see an example of two leaf mould bins below. There’s no need to cover the leaves to keep the rain out, but if you do then check the pile from time to time to make sure it’s still moist. I get so sad when I see the bags of leaves on the corner, ready to be carted away. It decomposes slowly and adds nutrients gradually to feed plants and improve the soil structure. Looking for the perfect camping gift for your outdoorsy friend or family member? - About Mary Jane (https://www.homefortheharvest.com/authors/about-mary-jane-duford/), When To Fertilize Blueberries: Seasonal Plant Food Timing For Blueberry Bushes. About Leaf Mold Compost. Chicken wire at the base will keep rodents out. Forget about the bags for around 12 months. The benefits of leaf mould composting. Roll the wire into a cylinder or shape it into a square, fill it with leaves and you’re done. These cookies do not store any personal information. Where compost needs a variety of ingredients to attain the right carbon to nitrogen ration to feed the bacteria, leaf mold needs only the one ingredient-leaves. 1st year them bags started to rot and fall apart, 2nd year about half turned to leaf mould, the rest were just leaves. My dream compost bin arrangement for composting leaves is a 3 bin-system: one for building, one for turning, one for finished compost. When nitrogen is not used, leaf mould is the result. The process is slow - a couple or three years - but the product - leaf mold is … We all love trees but all those leaves can be troublesome. It costs virtually nothing and, if you don’t mind waiting around 12 months, then you have a perfect compost to mulch our garden with. But the benefits make it well worth the wait. 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