Thursday, October 1, 2015

Leaf Mold is Garden Gold!

Photo Courtesy © David Goehring

Fall is my favorite season and with it comes one of my favorite activities: raking leaves. I love the fresh air, a bit of exercise and best of all, I end up with leaf mold for my garden. 

Leaf mold is a type of compost created from the fungal breakdown of leaves and it makes a superior soil amendment. It's
used to lighten soil, hold moisture and improve soil structure over time. It can also be used as mulch in garden beds and in containers to help with water retention.

Making leaf mold is an extremely simple procedure: just rake, mow or blow the leaves into a pile and let them sit for two to three years. The pile should be at least three feet wide by three feet deep. For a neater appearance the pile can be surrounded by a bin made of chicken wire or turkey fencing, which offers maximum air circulation. To cut down the "processing" time to a year, the leaves can be shredded, moistened and then covered, and they'll need to be turned once in awhile.

For an even simpler method, large black plastic trash bags can be used.  Just fill the trash bags with  shredded leaves, moisten, close and poke some holes in the bags. Every so often turn or shake the bags.
Leaf mold is easy, eliminates hauling or bagging and it's great for your garden!
- Bucks County Master Gardener Karen Murphy

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