How To Make Leaf Mold In Your Backyard
Experienced gardeners and landscapers understand the importance of incorporating a good soil conditioner into their lawn. While the conditioner itself does not provide nutrients, it helps the soil during the decomposition process to promote better nutrient absorption and water retention. While there are many forms of synthetic soil conditioners sold in stores, you can create your own by using leaf mold. It is really easy to make, and the following guide takes you through the process.
What is Leaf Mold?
Leaf mold is nothing more than decomposed leaves. However, most homeowners do not realize that rotting leaves are valuable for improving soil texture. It doesn’t need to be mixed with a compost pile; simply separate the leaves into their own pile and add them to the soil when they’re ready for use.
Creating a Leaf Mold Pile
Leaves are primarily made from carbon and takes anywhere from six months to a year to break down. However, the good news is that there is very little maintenance required on your end once you get a pile started.
To begin, rake a pile of leaves into a wire bin or black plastic garbage bag with small holes cut out for ventilation. If the leaves appear to be dry, pour some water into the pile. After this initial step, you are basically done; the only maintenance required is a monthly or bimonthly checkup to inspect the moisture levels, adding water as needed to keep the leaves damp. You will know when the leaves are ready to be used when they take on a dark brownish appearance with a crumbly texture.
Speeding up the Process
If six months to a year is too long for you, then you can speed up the process by breaking the leaves into smaller pieces by running them over with a lawn mower. Decomposition can also be sped up by turning the leaves over every month or so to expose the pile to more air. You should also keep the pile in a shaded area to slow the evaporation of water.
Additionally, you can also add nitrogen into the pile to accelerate the decomposition. Organic material high in nitrogen includes grass clippings and soybean meal.
Leaf mold is beneficial because it is an organic form of soil conditioner that can be obtained freely using a substance abundantly available in your own yard. It boosts your soil’s ability to absorb vital nutrients and water for long-term plant health.