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Just Grow It

How to make Leaf Mold

How to make Leaf Mold

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Have you ever been to a forest that has deciduous trees? Deciduous trees are ones that lose their leaves at some time during the year.  This process of shedding the leaves is called abscission and usually coincides with a change in weather.   Do you remember how the forest floor felt or smelled? Recall how there is no “mulch” on the ground, but yet the forest floor is teaming with life? That is because Leaf mold covers the forest floor.

Leaf Mold occurs when leaves are allowed to decompose naturally.  This decomposition process results in some of the most excellent compost on the planet.  It is dark, rich, has a crumbly texture, and has a sweet, pleasant, earthy aroma.  When added to a garden it is the ultimate soil conditioner.   

Benefits of Leaf Mold

  • Increase Organic Matter in Soil

  • Cover Barren earth to help retain topsoil

  • Improve Water Retention Ability of Soil

  • Improve Soil Structure

  • Provides the ideal environment for earthworms and other vital members of the soil food web

How to make Leaf Mold

Process 1

  1. Drive around your local area and look for the bags of yard waste and leaves people place on the curb.

  2. Take these bags.

  3. Remove leaves from bags and Chop with Lawnmower or wood chipper. (This step is not necessary but will increase decomposition time.)

  4. Place in a pile at least 3 feet high and 3 feet wide. This pile does not have to be an enclosed. I prefer to make cylindrical shapes out of wire bins

  5. Moisten Leaves and allow to sit for 6-12 months until decomposed. During this time re moisten leaves during dry periods.

To speed up the process keep the leaves covered with a tarp. Tarping will help increase the internal temperature of the pile speeding up the finish time.

Process 2

  1. Drive around your local area and look for the bags of yard waste and leaves people place on the curb.

  2. Take these bags.

  3. Moisten Leaves

  4. Seal the bag and Puncture holes in bags

  5. Every month add more moisture to bags and shake.

  6. Within six months to a year, you will have a desired finished product

Making Leaf Mold is extremely simple, basically free to make, and super efficient.  Leaves are mainly all Carbon, so it will take longer to decompose than your regular compost pile, due to the lack of nitrogen.  This process can take between 6-12 months.  I know that seems like a long time, but let's be honest, with how simple this is you can pile them up and leave them (see what I did there?).  Also, compared to making conventional compost which requires turning and more attention, I will take leaf mold all day every day. It’s no wonder why Fall is my favorite time of year.   

 

DIY Wire Leaf Mold Compost Bin

DIY Wire Leaf Mold Compost Bin

Benefits of Mulching and Organic Mulch Materials

Benefits of Mulching and Organic Mulch Materials