Autumn Leaves - How to make leaf mould.
Updated: Jan 10, 2022
There is nothing more beautiful than watching the leaves turn colour during Autumn and watching them flutter to the ground. However, did you know that these leaves can provide your garden with free mulch and soil amendment? Grab your rake and start collecting those leaves, pile them high as they will provide a home for overwintering beneficial insects.
So what is leaf mould? Leaf mould is the result of letting leaves decompose over time. Very similar to compost, it is dark brown to black with a pleasant earthy aroma with a light soft texture.
How is leaf mould different to compost?
Compost is used to improve soil texture, adds nutrition and fertility. Leaf mould is used as a soil amendment or conditioner and will increase the water retention of your soil. Studies have shown that when leaf mould is added to soil, water retention can be increased up to 50%. Just like compost, leaf mould will also improve the soil structure and provides a home for beneficial insects, earthworms and beneficial bacteria. It is used in conjunction with compost to provide an all round, balanced "diet" for your soil. Your plants are only as healthy as the soil they are growing in.
How to make leaf mould?
Those who know me, know that the simpler the better and making leaf mould does not get any simpler. You just need leaves and time. Since leaves are mainly all carbon the decomposition will take six to twelve months.
Create a pile of leaves in a corner of your garden or create a bin like you would for compost. Thoroughly wet the leaves and keep them damp. Covering the pile with a tarp will help increase the decomposition of the leaves.
Using a large plastic bag, fill it with leaves and dampen. Seal the bag and cut some slits in the plastic bag to allow air flow. Ensure the leaves do not dry out. You may need to add more water over time.
You can speed the process up by shredding your leaves first.
Like you would with compost you can turn your leaves with a garden fork or shake your plastic bag. This will increase air flow and increase the decomposition of the leaves.
How to use leaf mould?
Leaf mould is as easy to use as it is to make.
Either directly add it to your soil or use as a mulch. Leaf mould is also excellent for containers.