Turn fallen autumn leaves into wonderful compost
Make the most of all those fallen leaves by making your own leafmould. Follow our guide for a fantastic and free way to make soil conditioner for your garden.
The best quality leafmould is produced from the leaves of oak and beech trees, but most of your fallen leaves will work well.
The larger the leaves, the longer they will take to break down, but you can give it a helping hand by shredding them with a lawnmower or garden blow vac when collecting them.
If you only have a small garden, you can make the leaf mould in plastic bags or, if you have the space, you could build a simple frame out of chicken wire and stakes to house the leaves.
You will need:
- Rake, lawnmower or blow vac
- Wooden mallet to hammer in the stakes
- Gardening gloves
- Plastic garden sacks
- Garden ties or twine, if required
- Chicken wire
- Timber or plastic / metal stakes
Making your leafmould
First you need to collect all the fallen leaves, either rake them up or collect and shred them in a blow vac or lawnmower.
Bag them up into good quality plastic garden sacks. If the leaves are dry, add a couple of pints of rainwater into the bag so the leaves are all nice and wet.
Tie up the bags with garden ties or twine and use a screwdriver to pierce each bag in about 15 to 20 places.
Step 4 Stack up your bags of leaves in a shaded area of the garden, perhaps behind the shed. Every couple of months, simply turn them over.
If you have a lot of leaves to collect, you can build your own square or circular frame with stakes and chicken wire in a sheltered part of the garden. Turn the leaves every couple of months with a garden fork to help aerate and speed up the process. If the leaves dry out, spray them with water and place a board or old carpet on top to stop them from blowing away.
Using your leafmould
Either use the leaf mould as a mulch for your beds and borders the following autumn or leave them bagged up for a couple of years to create an excellent soil conditioner.