leaf mulch

It is autumn again and the leaves are turning red, golden and orange before they finally fall to the ground and gather around tree trunks, lawns and bushes. If you own a lot of deciduous plants and trees, then rake up their leaves and make your own precious leave mould.

Hornbeam, willow, birch and other deciduous leaves will rot down in about one year. Evergreens and conifers may need 2 years (pine even longer). So try not to put evergreens, conifers and normal deciduous plants together into the same bag.

Here is what to do: 

1. Rake up the leaves into neat piles.

2. Put these leave piles into garden bags. When the bag is almost full, spray the leaves with water and then punch a few holes in the bags (you can use the rake for this or a simple garden folk) and tie them up.

3. Place the leave bags in a shady place, for example under a big bush or shady corner of your garden – a place where they are not in the way and can be left for a year or more.

4. When you open a  bag a year later, the leaves will have decomposed into a dark brown crumbly substance, also known as leaf mould. This is a great plant tonic which can be brought out and spread around brushes, onto lawns and added into your compost heap.

Acid lovers such as camellias, rhododendron and azaleas will be particularly happy with leaf mould and it is also a vital ingredient to add to your soil before sowing up a new vegetable plot.

The best dates for bringing out leaf mould are  Water Days and Earth Days during the Waning Moon.