Looking out of the window at the weekend, the entire lawn was festooned with autumn leaves. Glancing up at the trees, it became apparent that there were also plenty more where they came from.
According to the experts, this is the time of year to be collecting up the leaves and making leaf mold.
There are a couple of ways you can go about doing this. The first is to construct a container out of chicken wire, fill it with leaves, and forget about it over winter. If you haven’t got space for a container, you can gather all the leaves up, and put them into black plastic bags. Give the contents a good water, tie up the top and poke a couple of holes in the bottom to let the excess moisture out, and store them out of view somewhere in the garden. With both methods, the leaves should rot down over the winter, and by next spring, you should be left with a rich, crumbly mixture.
Apparently once made, it gets better with age: after one year it’s good for adding substance to soil, after two, you can mix it with potting compost and grow stuff in it.
Now, I have to confess I’ve never actually made leaf mold, and have never even cleared the leaves off the lawn. It’s always been one of those jobs that looks like a never ending, thankless task. I’ve always left them where they are, and miraculously they’re always long gone by the spring. I figure they either rot down by themselves, or get taken into the soil by worms and insects. Either way, I generally let nature do its stuff.
So whilst making leaf mold seems like a great idea, I personally will be giving it a miss this year. The garden is coming up to its naturally quiet period, and I’m taking this opportunity to hang up my trusty trowel and have a bit of a rest before the next gardening year is upon us. So, the main priorities for me will be to make sure the chickens are well looked after through the colder months, and to keep an eye on the plants in the greenhouse. They’ll just need watering from time to time, and kept frost free when the temperature really drops.
I’ll be using the time indoors to take stock of the successes and failures of this year, and to plan what to plant next year – all from the comfort of the house. Whilst doing this, I’ll be watching my carpet of leaves slowly disappear.