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Autumn Leaves and Compost

The leaves are falling thick and fast and it’s a great time to consider making your own leaf mould and compost. Read Kate Bradbury’s great blog post for advice,
” I have been gathering leaves to make leaf mould. Leaf mould is not particularly nutritious, but it conditions the soil, lacing it with fungi and other micronutrients, which help plants grow. Leaf mould also helps preserve moisture in the soil, increases worm activity below the surface, and it’s great for wildlife. In the wild, leaves fall from trees, and small mammals, amphibians and insects shelter among them. Making leaf mould at home simply recreates this natural process. The best leaves to choose from are non-waxy ones such as oak, beech or hornbeam. These rot down quickly and so are ready to use sooner. Whatever you do, don’t take leaves from beneath a hedge or tucked away corner of the garden, as wildlife may already be sheltering there. Choose leaves from the lawn and path, or your local park, instead. If you have room to make a bespoke wire cage (using wooden posts and chicken wire), you will not only generate a free soil conditioner, but create habitats for wildlife too. Left beyond winter, this will offer nesting opportunities for small mammals and bumblebees, as well as a habitat for worms and woodlice, which feed on the decaying matter. Ground beetles, amphibians and other predators may use the heap to hunt prey. I gather the leaves into plastic bags and pop them in my shed. They take around two years to turn to a rich, crumbly mulch, but this year I watered the leaves in the hope that the end result will come quicker. You can also mow over them before bagging them, which can also speed up decomposition. This method isn’t so beneficial to wildlife in terms of shelter, but the blackbirds seem to love picking through the finished product once I’ve spread it over my borders. And the plants love it too.”
We make our own compost here at the yard in Aslockton, the bins are made from recycled pallets and crates and do the job brilliantly! The RHS offer some great advice on the basics https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=478