Leaf Mould in the making.

Autumn is well and truly here, many of our trees and shrubs are changing colour and the first leaves are dropping. Over the last few years I’ve got in the habit of collecting up the fallen leaves, using the push mower and catcher, this not only chops up the leaves but adds in grass clippings, which help everything to break down. Our main trees for leaves are Chestnuts, Birch and Gingko.

I have an area about 1m square, wedged between old hay bales and comfrey plants, it has a bit of sacking or cardboard boxes on the bottom and is in semi shade. Each time I mow I pack the leaf mix into this space, tightly, paying special attention to the sides. Just like making compost  you want to keep the mix moist but not soggy, and packing it in helps hold the moisture. Put a cover over it, a cardbox weighed down would do.

Once the leaves are all collected the heap can be left to work its magic. I find the center is ready to use in early Summer, and I move the edges in to the middle then to keep it in a pile, so it can carry on breaking down.

As I clear out the last of the previous seasons collection it is a dark rich loam, with abundant worms, and weed free. I like to put big handfuls around trees and shrubs in large pots, and as a mulch for special shade loving plants like our Golden Seal, Hostas and ferns.

It’s a great resource, very satisfying to make and adding nutrients & organic matter to the soil, which help to hold moisture over our dry spells.