Turn Fallen Leaves into ‘Black Gold’
Each fall, some time in October, the leaves start to fall and homeowners are faced with the question of just what to do with all of those leaves. Many people simply rake them out to the curb and let the city pick them up. Or they place them in paper bags for disposal. But leaves can be a valuable source of nutrients for your garden so, this year, follow these easy steps to create your own ‘black gold’ (otherwise knows as leaf mold or leaf compost).
Step 1—Collect and shred the leaves. There are several easy options for gathering leaves:
- Rake them up, place them in a large trash can, and shred with an string trimmer inserted into the can. Be sure to wear eye protection if you do this!
- Rake them into a pile and mow over them with a mulching mower. If you have a bag attachment, this will make clean-up much easier.
- Vacuum them with a leaf blower with a bag attachment (try the WORX TriVac (WG502) leaf blower/vacuum/mulcher). Your neighbors may not appreciate the noise (be aware that some neighborhoods prohibit the use of lawn blowers) but it’s an effective way to collect and shred leaves.
Step 2—Store the leaves. Place the shredded leaves in a pile, in an empty trash can, in a bin, in a large bag – anything that will hold them and prevent them from blowing around. The Compost Sak from Smart Pots works exceptionally well for this. Add a little water to moisten the pile (but don’t turn it into a soggy mess).
And that’s it. Just leave the pile until spring and you’ll have a plentiful supply of leaf mold to use as a mulch or soil amendment. If you’re feeling energetic, you can turn the pile periodically over the winter to aerate it and speed up the decomposition process.
- WORX TriVac (WG502) Leaf Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher
- Compost Sak from Smart Pots
- Composting: Resources and Tips for Making Great Compost
Have you tried making leaf mold? How did it work out? Let us know in the comments below.