Lutherville-Timonium Homes For Sale

Turning Leaves Into Useable Soil

What to Do With All of Your Leaves?

Winter is approaching and we all know what that means.

Leaves, thousands of them, they seem to blanket everything in sight. Every year we dread the day that we have to break out the trusty ole rake. Having to go outside on your day off and rake for a few hours is the last thing that you want to do.

Once you are done raking everything into large enough piles to jump off your roof into, you realize that now you need to start the fun task of bagging all of the leaves. Hours later you now have to drag all of these bags down to the curb and cross your fingers yard waste will be picked up soon.

Have you ever thought to yourself that there has to be a better way to dispose of your leaves, without all the effort and waste that trash bags create?

Surprisingly the leaves that you have been throwing away for years are a valuable source of nutrients for your yard. So why not recycle them the way nature does, by turning them into an invaluable soil builder, leaf mold.

Leaf mold greatly improves the structure and water-holding capacity of soil. It also creates the perfect conditions for the community of beneficial organisms that dwell in your soil, not to mention it’s great in potting mix and easy to make!

How to Make Leaf Mold:

There are really two ways that you can transfer leaves into leaf mold.

For The Less Motivated Gardener:

  • Pile leaves in a sheltered, inconspicuous area of your yard.
  • Leave them for 1-2 years.
  • Make sure that leaves are consistently watered down and turned with a pitchfork to speed up the decomposition process.

The Ambitious Gardener:

Make a 4-by-4-foot leaf mold cage from stakes and chicken wire:

  • First use a hammer to drive one 5 foot stake into each corner of the 4′ square marked onto the ground.
  • Drive each stake 12″ into the ground, trying to keep each one straight and square to one other.
  • Use a staple gun to attach one end of a roll of a 4′ tall roll of chicken wire to one of the stakes.
  • Continue wrapping the chicken wire around all the stakes, securing to each one with multiple staples.
  • Secure chicken wire to original stake with staples to form a fully enclosed bin.
  • Fill your new compost bin, mowing leaves before piling will speed decomposition.
  • Make sure that leaves are consistently watered down and turned with a pitchfork to speed up the decomposition process.


Tending the Leaf Bin:

To speed up the composting process, add to the leaves a handful of lime and a handful blood meal (which can be purchased at your local hardware store). Turn the leaves with a pitch fork periodically throughout the season. If the compost pile starts to appear dry, spray it down with a garden hose and turn with pitch fork.

Using Your Leaf Mold:

Moisture Retaining Mulch:

Leaf mold can hold up to 500 times its own weight in water. Place it around (but not touching) the crowns of annuals, perennials, and vegetables to help them maintain moisture during summer.

Peat Substitute:

Use leaf mold in place of peat because it has similar qualities and it’s a renewable resource.

Soil Conditioner:

It’s easier for roots to penetrate soil and take up nutrients when the soil is not as dense.

Drought-Proof Soil:

The leaf mold infused soil could hold nearly a two-week supply of water for vegetables. Use caution, this water holding capacity can be a problematic for seeds planted in early spring, they may rot in the cool, wet soil.

Seedling Mix:

Mix one part leaf mold with one part well-aged compost or worm castings for a nutrient-rich potting mixture for seedlings.

Preferred Landscapers

For more information, real estate tips and insights feel free to visit my FACEBOOK and GOOGLE+ pages