Thursday, February 1, 2007

Leaf Mold-ing away

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I hate to admit that this is a 'some people' story.

Anyhow, it occurred to me an embarrassingly short time ago that it was silly to send off my compostable leaves with the yard leaf truck every fall. Instead, I should make leaf mold with them, or use them as brown matter in my compost pile. On my perrenial beds, I just leave them there. They are especially good for woodland style gardens.

Hortiphilia Fact:

Leaf Mold is made by letting tree leaves (usually deciduous) breakdown
It is a great soil conditioner, and mulch

How do you do it? Unlike other forms of composting, this is really really easy. Just pile them up. You don't have to pile them up to make leaf mold but it is more convinient to keep them in one spot. Some suggest that you should turn this occasionally. You can build a cage for them, like the one in the picture. It is plastic trellis held in place with rebar. Also unlike regular compost, you don't need to worry about making sure it is loose and airy. You can squish the leaves as much as you like, and the container can handle, to get more in. It may take several years for the leaves to break down but the wait is worth it.

But what about the 'some people' story. My neighbour who thinks I'm a crazy gardener noticed me stuffing oak leaves this fall into the above contraption. He asked me what I was up to. I told him enthusiastically that I was making leaf mold to add to the soil.

He said, 'Won't that make it too acidic?'

I said, still happily, 'Well the blueberries won't mind.'

'But people are allergic to mold.'

Incredulously, 'Some people are allergic to leaf mold?'

'Everyone is.'

Uh-huh. Yup. Some people are just easily freaked out. He was probably wondering why I had to be all organic and not just put my leaves out like the rest of them. Some people.

Anyhow, if you can walk through a deciduous forest in early spring, your not allergic. I'm okay.



Anthony said...

My compost bins are mostly leaves through the winter and then when it warms up, I add as many greens as I can get my hands on to get the bin cooking. So I guess I'm sort of composting my leaf mold.

And I think I'm allergic also. I'm Allergic to neighbors with opinions. :)

Leaf fan said...

Speaking of every action being political. Leaf composting is highly political, or at the very least highly civic. Why indeed buy bags, pay people to pick up, add polution by trucking, etc. etc. something that only wants to go back to the soil?