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Make Leaf Mold

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

Turn piles of fallen leaves into a nutritious soil additive!

With fall almost here, it's time to start thinking about what you'll do with all those leaves. One of the greatest gifts leaves give us is leaf mold, a natural soil conditioner that is easy and free to make.


With fall almost here, it's time to start thinking about what you'll do with all those leaves. One of the greatest gifts leaves give us is leaf mold, a natural soil conditioner that is easy and free to make.

As you'd expect, leaf mold starts with leaves. If you're lucky enough to have plenty of leaves falling in your yard, you won't have to look far. If not, offer to rake neighbors' lawns and take their leaves. However you obtain them, be sure that they are not tainted with chemicals used for weed or pest control for your lawn. These substances will kill the microorganisms that make leaf mold possible. Also, stay away from leaves that fall in the street. They will be coated with oils or sand that disrupts the molding process.

Once you've got a bunch of clean leaves, pile them up and let them decay. You'll want to keep them moist, just like compost. And if you're ambitious, you can even run them over with a lawnmower every few months to speed up decomposition.

Making leaf mold is not a quick process. If you make a pile and let it sit, you can expect to wait a couple years before you can use it. Turning the pile occasionally will speed up the process slightly.

Once your leaf mold is ready, use it as a mulch, soil conditioner or seedling mix. Leaf mold can hold several hundreds times its weight in water, so you can also use it as a drought-proof soil. Happy molding!

 
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