This is some leaf mold that I have been making for about a year. Poke some hole all around the bags for proper ventilation. Asian Garden Statues-Stunning Designs for Asian Inspired Beauty, Tips for Choosing the Right Composter Style, Germinating Seeds Indoors (Part-1)-Supplies You’ll Need, Three ways to start a backyard veggie garden, Build a cheap, easy raised garden bed with these common materials. Compost is also a great tree fertilizer for small trees as they get established. 4) By using leaves as a mulch, you are helping the environment. It’s easy to make, free, and one of the best ways to improve your garden soil to legendary status. Use for mulching. Actually it is a decayed form of the leaf by the action of fungi. Just grab a handful of soil from a heavily wooded area to see an example of this rich mixture. Moisten the leaves slightly and tie up the bags. The air is milder and has a distinctive coolness now. And it costs absolutely nothing. For that reason, leaf mold makes an excellent mulch. Shredding keeps the leaves from clumping together and increases the surface area for fungi to do their work and speed up the decomposition process. There are a few slightly different methods. I told you it was easy. What is Leaf Mould? Leaf mold is essentially a soil conditioner. The final leaf mold method is my personal favorite. Overwinter Peppers Indoors-Don’t Let Your Plants Die Young! Making a Leaf Mold Bin This could include grass clippings, kitchen scraps, or manure. It Adds Water and Air. Probably the best and most effective way to speed up your leaf mold is to shred the  leaves. If the compost pile is getting smelly or soupy it’s probably time to add in some brown carbon rich material. It is a decayed form of ordinary leaves. According to some university studies, the addition of leaf mold increased water retention in soils by over 50 percent. In fact, leaf mold doesn't really offer very many nutrients but conditions the soil. Mold is not an exact compost. Posts may contain affiliate links, which allow me to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. There’s also the whole, it’s absolutely free thing! Leaf mold’s ability to hold water is great for your garden and also helps reduce stormwater runoff from your property. Leaf mold doesn’t feed the soil as much as compost does, so you will still need to provide compost and other organic fertilizers to your plants. As leaves decompose, they turn in a crumbly and rich soil amendment. Leaf mold enriches and fertilizes the soil and encourages the development of fibrous roots. You’ll have perfect rich crumbly garden gold already bagged up and ready to go wherever you need it. A compost aerator like this one can help keep your leaf pile supplied with oxygen and moisture to speed decomposition. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LEAF MOLD FOR MY GARDEN? It might be too rich for a few other … Leaf mold is great for retaining moisture in your soil as it holds 500 percent of its own weight in water. Build your leaf pile in a shaded area to keep in moisture. Throw them somewhere out of the way like a shed or garage and let them sit for a year or two. Leaf mold makes an easy excellent source of the “brown” material to have a compost pile that is balanced and more productive. Next post: Overwinter Peppers Indoors-Don’t Let Your Plants Die Young! Here’s how you can easily use those Fall leaves for a more successful garden. … This will also help to evenly distribute moisture. Well, this rich leaf mold increases the ability of soil to retain water. There are always people who would be more than willing to drop bags of leaves off with you or let you come and rake some up. How To Make Southern Pepper Sauce-Use Those Extra Garden Peppers! It’s now ready to be added to the garden. Check out our homemade potting soil mix and substitute leaf mold for compost. Perhaps the best part of all will convince you more. Yimby Compost Tumbler Review-A Great Composter for Beginners! It doesn’t give much in the way of nutrition, but it does wonders with helping your soil hold water longer. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. I have read a lot on this forum about substituting leaf mold as a substitute in potting mix - like 1 part topsoil, 1 part compost, 1 part leaf mold. Leaf mold and manure is a good medium for them. Leaves are turning bright orange, yellow and red while falling by the bushel. Leaf mold also improves soil structure and provides a fantastic habitat for soil life, including earthworms and beneficial … Remember leaf mold retains water at rate of 500% of its own weight so it makes a great alternative to peat moss. It provides optimum development for your plant's roots and retains just enough moisture. Most leaves are slightly acidic when they fall, with a pH below 6. One way to shred the leaves is running over them with a lawnmower. Just make a few passes, rake them up, and throw them on your pile. Typically 1-3 years is the standard completion time. It can be used: As a mulch to keep down weeds and reduce moisture evaporation from the soil. Spray piles or bags of leaves with a garden hose until damp. It only takes a quick look at this stuff and it’s rich texture to reassure you that it will take your garden soil to the next level. This quality alone brings several fantastic benefits to your garden. Cucurbits love very rich soil. The added nitrogen will super charge the rate of decomposition for the leaves just as it does for a compost pile. Gather up some leaves and stuff them into large trash bags. Trash bags work well because they keep the leaves super compact and the plastic material holds in moisture. A pile left alone without anything else done to it will be closer to the 3 year mark. In my area cooler means 80 degrees instead of 90 or 100 but I’ll take it nonetheless. Over time, annual applications of leaf mold mulch can significantly improve the quality of your soil and increase in beneficial soil … Leaf mold is simply decomposed leaf matter. Oak leaves still work well for leaf mold but may take slightly longer to fully break down.  Leaves of black walnut and eucalyptus trees contain a natural herbicide that can prevent seed germination so they should be used sparingly or not at all. Ideally you want a good mix of many types of leave for the best results. I put leaves in garbage bags in the fall, added some water and seal them up. Benefits of adding leaf mold to our soil for gardening and landscaping? It is a common misconception that mold leaf is a type of compost. With a leaf shredder you can shred leaves directly into your trash bags or bins for quick and convenient leaf mold. Even if you don’t have leaves in your yard don’t let that deter you. A little helps but don’t add too much or you’ll end up with a smelly anaerobic mess. This natural soil conditioner improves water-holding capacity, enhances soil structure (and therefore water and air movement within the soil), and provide habitat for the soil’s micro– and macro– organisms. Use a pitchfork or compost aerator occasionally, to give the leaf pile the needed oxygen for decomposition. Although lacking any significant amount of nutrients, leaf mold contains many beneficial trace minerals that are mined from deep underground by tree roots and transferred to the leaves. Leaf mold also stimulates biological activity in the soil, creating a microbial environment that helps thwart pests. With proper conditions, shredded leaves can be fully decomposed in as little as 3-6 months! Using leaf mold as a soil amendment is a common and productive practice. It’s quite hard-working, and adds a lot to your soil. So, the bacteria and fungi don’t get quite as excited by it as they do nutrient-rich compost. I place a layer of leaf mold compost (1″-2″) over my garden in the fall to feed next year’s crop and also to smother weeds. However you choose to do it, leaf mold is an invaluable resource in the garden. Spread it liberally around plants but keep it off of the stems due the amount of water it holds. And any leaf mold not used in your garden makes a … 3) The layer of leaves protect and feed organisms including earthworms. Leaf mould is easy to use slow-release organic fertilizer. Ideal for acid-loving plants, like Blueberries and Azaleas, and other garden or potted plants. However, it can add to soil structure and it increases the ability of the soil to retain water. Leaf mold is great stuff! Another option is a leaf shredder. Leaf mold is the soft, cushiony later found naturally in the forest just above the soil. Leaf mold is a soil amendment that can be used in containers, potting soil mixes, seed starting, raised beds and in ground gardens. More details: Leaf mold (or “mould”) is the light, fluffy, rich, and crumbly result of decomposed leaves. Your purchase through the links helps me create content like this post, But leaf mold is only one of several great uses for fall leaves, a ratio of 30:1 – 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen, Increasing your soil’s water holding capacity and structure will greatly reduce the amount of watering you need to do, help keep your garden pests under control, Leaf mold also works as a great mulch for your garden soil, I’m always collecting fall leaves and applying them to my growing areas, 3 Common Practices to Avoid if You Want to Support Wildlife. The difference between leaf mold and compost is compost is a nutritious element for your garden and is great for your soil too. Keep your leaves moist. layer around shrubs, trees, in flower beds and gardens, or any spot that will benefit from a biodegradable covering or … Most shredders reduce leaves to 1/10 their original size. After logging in you can close it and return to this page. That is comparable or even better than peat moss. The pile sits for about a year, and when it's finished you have the perfect amendment for vegetable and flower gardens, as well as a fantastic addition to potting soils . Leaves that are shredded also take up much less space. Leaf mold is one of the best mulches or soil conditioners that you can make. Speaking of horrid soil…when we … All Rights Reserved. How To Use Your Leaf Mold Compost. Works as a fantastic mulch for your garden. Leaf mold is more of an additive to your soil. While compost is an amazing resource for building soil fertility and structure, leaf mold is far better as a soil amendment. Compost contains a much larger amount of nutrients that are essential … Leaf mold is not as rich in nutrient value as completely composted leaves but it is easier and quicker to make. It increases the water retention of soils. Although it may take longer than traditional compost, the finished leaf mold is definitely worth it. That’s it! Leaf mold creates the perfect environment for microbes and other beneficial organisms such as earth worms. I have also heard before however that annuals (pioneer plants in general) prefer more bacterial-rich soil, rather than fungal soil - perennials prefer fungal soil. Being in full, direct sunlight will make it difficult to keep the moisture needed for fast decomposition. Please log in again. A pile of dry leaves will take much longer to break down. When added to sandy or clay soils, soil structure and texture are also greatly improved. This way, it provides a good habitat for soil life such as beneficial bacteria and earthworms. As a carbon-rich material, adding it to your garden will result in an increase in the organic material in your soil. Fall is definitely upon us now! We’ve reviewed our favorites here. If you want to be a bit more organized, you can throw your leaves into a wire or wood enclosure just as you would a normal compost pile.  This will keep your leaf pile more compacted which speeds up the decomposition process. Leaf mold is more of a soil amendment. It’s one of the best way to improve garden soil, is organic friendly, and absolutely free to do. Collect leaves from the lawn using a rotary mower, as this not only shreds the leaves and hastens rotting but also adds grass clippings, so increasing the nutrient value of the leafmould. This means a giant pile of leaves can be reduce down to a few handfuls. It absorbs rainwater to reduce runoff, and in hot weather, it helps cool roots and foliage. The most simple method is to rake up your leaves into a giant pile and let them sit. Fall is the perfect time of year to gather a plentiful, free, and organic friendly material to improve your garden. Leaf mold can be used as a soil conditioner or as mulch in vegetable gardens and other planting beds. Acid loving plants love Oak Leaf Mold. Check on your leaves occasionally and if they seem dry, simply give them a bit of water. Leaf mold is a form of compost produced by the breakdown of shrub and tree leaves.. Due to the slow decaying nature of their lignin (cellulose) content, autumn leaves break down far more slowly than most other compost ingredients, and therefore should be composted separately. Wait until the soil dries before watering again. 2) Leaf Mold improves soil fertility which means it provides nutrients to the soil and improves soil structure so it will become nice and loose over time. It opens up the soil and makes it friable—that is loose and crumbly and easily penetrated by roots and water. It is best known for its ability as soil conditioners. Just ask your neighbors! This means that the soil retains water better, often over 50 percent better water retention than soil without leaf mold. Mix it into the top layer or use 3-4 inches as a mulch. Mix two teaspoons of neem oil, one teaspoon of dish soap, and half a gallon (2 l) of water. Beginners Guide to Composting-How To Easily Start Composting Today! Spread a three-inch (7.5 cm.) What is leaf mold? By changing the structure of your soil by adding leaf mold will: Improve water retention while … This is ideal for smaller yards. Great for hot climates with soil that dries out easily. Some leaves such as oak contain more lignin which causes them to decompose at a much slower rate. Download: … Just make sure the leaf pile is big enough to retain moisture and heat. Leaf mold is decomposed leaves. You may have seen this whitish “mold” under leaves and thought poorly of it. Squash will grow in a manure pile. And leaf mold, as every forest knows, is the best soil amendment on earth! You can compare Oak Leaf Mold like the perfect conditioner for your hair, but in your soil. Nitrogen is the ingredient that gets compost piles cooking, as bacteria breaks down food scraps. Think of a forest floor with years of fallen leaves decaying over time to produce a loamy black soil. There are many simple and easy to use leaf shredders on the market. Leaf mold is not high in nutrient content but is an excellent humic soil conditioner because its structure and moisture retention provide a good growing medium for seedling roots. Leaf mold adds valuable organic matter to the soil. 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