How to Make your Own Leaf Mould
25 Apr, 2021
It is an organic mixture of autumn leaves that have slowly broken down, and it is used in the place of compost or mulch. It adds nutrients back into any type of soil, garden or patch, and can be added at any time of the year. It is especially important when it is harder to get your hands on store-bought fertilisers.
Leaves contain a high level of nutrients that the tree has absorbed, and once they die and rot back into the soil under the tree, the nutrients are slowly reabsorbed.
There are a couple of ways to create leaf mould, depending on how much available space you have in your garden.
Collecting the Leaves
Your first mission will be to collect the leaves. You can collect any leaves you have on the ground, including lawn clippings. However, don’t include conifer leaves as these tend to take longer to break down. Damp leaves will break down faster.
Bagging Leaves for Small Spaces
This method can be used if you have a small space.
Use a thick rubbish-bin bag to collect your leaves. Once it is three-quarters full, add a little water on top to help accelerate the rotting process, before tying it up securely with string or wire. Take a screwdriver and pierce several holes around the sides to help aerate the contents of the bag.
Out in the Open for Larger Spaces
Traditionally (and naturally) leaf mould is created when layers of leaves cluster under trees and slowly rot down. This can still be done at home, as long as you have a sheltered position where the leaves will be relatively undisturbed over the course of a year. Choose a corner of the garden and keep the leaves in a homemade ‘pen’. Again, it’s best to keep the leaves moist as they break down.
How you know Leaf Mould is Ready
Leaf mould can take one to two years to completely break down depending on the types of leaves you use. When it is ready the leaves will be a lovely deep brown colour and crumbly to the touch, with a touch of moisture.
How to Use Leaf Mould
Use as mulch under hedges, trees and shrubs.
Dig into the soil to add in nutrients before digging in plants, planting seedlings or sowing seed (use in garden and veggie beds).
Use as winter cover for bare soils.
Use as seed-sowing mix and home-made potting mix (for leaf mould that has been developed over two years, so is more broken-down).