How and Why to Make
Written by: Dottie Baltz
Sometimes you are just not able to make compost, or maybe you have too many leaves to add to a compost pile. If that is the case, you can make leaf mold.
But why would you want to make leaf mold in the first place? For one, it is an excellent soil conditioner for clay soil and helps sandy soil retain more moisture. It also makes an excellent organic mulch and a down right cheap mulch for all your garden plants. What is cheaper than free? Nothing, that's what?
Making leaf mold is probably one of the easiest things you can do. Here's how:
- Pile up a bunch of leaves that have been run over by a lawn mower, or shredded. This will help them to break down faster.
- Wet the leaves with a little water, if necessary.
- Place the leaves in a plastic bag, trash can, or wire enclosure. Placing them in an enclosed space, helps to keep them wet so that the fungi will thrive and breakdown the leaves. Make several air holes in the bag or trash can.
- To further speed up the decomposition process, sprinkle alfalfa meal or corn-gluten among the leaves as you layer them into the container.
- Allow pile to sit for 4-12 months and at that point, you should have leaf mold ready to use. Leaf mold is ready when the leaves are no longer recognizable. Return whole leaves to the pile or add to compost to finish decomposing.
Remember, leaf mold is low in nutrients, but it is a fabulous soil considitioner for clay or sandy soil. So give it a try and let me know what you think.