Sunday, October 23, 2011

Leaf Mold: A Real Windfall

"Mom, please don't take a picture of me.  I haven't had my shower yet."

And since it was her birthday, I said, "I'll just take a picture of what you're doing."

So here she is, helping us create gardening gold with a resource so cheap that it falls when the wind blows.  It's a real windfall!

Mowing the leaf pile chops the leaves into small pieces for a quicker decomposition.

She collects them onto the tarp and carries them... to the compost?  No, we don't want them to compost with our other plant material.  Since leaves break down through fungal action instead of the bacterial action like the compost pile does, we put them into a pile of their own, where they break down into a beautiful soil amendment that can improve the moisture-retentive quality of soil by as much as 50%

We had exactly enough fencing leftover from our compost bins this spring to make this cage for the leaf mold.  Perfect!

Aelsa dampened the leaves to get the process started, and now all we have to do is wait for more of this windfall to come our way.  I have a feeling that it will:

From the maple tree in the front corner,

from the fruit trees in the back,

and from the burr oak tree in the back corner.

Join us for raking, anyone?


  1. I seriously need to learn how to compost...

  2. I will avoid you guys next spring...leaf mold, in all its final glory, is KILLER on my lungs! I am not nearly so organized as you, we just have leaves caught in all our beds and it molds beautifully overwinter. When we go to rake out the larger, more preserved leaves from the shrubs, it always sends the mold airborn, and I cough for days :-) But it's so good for the beds! Way to go, Aelsa! (My hair was dirty Saturday, so I know what you mean about not wanting a pic taken.)