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Making leafmould

Instead of putting my leaves in plastic bags to decompose, this year I have a square  container made of galvanised wire netting.  It is almost full but I am not sure whether or not to cover the top.  My compost heap is covered with old carpet, shall I do the same with the leaves?  Is it better to leave the leaves exposed to the elements?
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  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,873
    Put chickenwire over the top. It stops the leaves blowing about but doesn't stop the rain getting in and keeping them wet.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • That sounds like a good idea.  What is the quickest way to get leafmould - in a wire frame or plastic bags?
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,228
    I think the wire frame is best, but not especially quick. I tried some in a black sack when my wire composter was full and it was a complete failure - the leaves didn't break down at all. In a wire container they get all the rain, and air and it all just happens.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,873
    I use builders bags and mow the leaves before they go in, partly because they are easier to collect off the lawn that way.  I usually fill two bags full, and they go down over a year, I tip one into the other and they rot a further year before use.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,346
    Mine are mainly Beech leaves and they take a long time to rot down.
    He calls her the chocolate girl
    Cause he thinks she melts when he touches her
    She knows she's the chocolate girl
    Cause she's broken up and swallowed
    And wrapped in bits of silver
  • cmarkrcmarkr Posts: 100
    Remember the process of breaking down leaf mold is fungi based whereas compost is bacteria based so the rules are different. Leaf mold doesn't need heat in the same way that compost does for example.
  • AstroAstro Posts: 357
    I've usually gone for the bagging method , in the past bin liners but now builders rubble sacks.

    As stated prior they break down faster if you help them on their way by shredding, then you can either wet them or leave the top of the bag open to allow some rain in.  You can control the moisture level by closing the bag once damp enough, they don't want to be swimming so plastic bags would need holes popping in the bottom.  Worms come into the holes and really help break the leaves down too.

    My observation on putting them in a cage is they are exposed to the elements but this includes the sun and winds drying them out which can slow the breakdown.
  • Lots of good info.
    Plastic bags full of rotting leaves can get very heavy, this is my reason for trying a wire cage.  I have sited the cage in a sheltered spot with no sun.  I will cover with netting, not disturb it and wait till autumn next year.
  • KiliKili Posts: 858
    As I don't get large amounts of leaf mould I just dig in any leaf mould that's collected around the garden straight into my borders and forget it for the winter. It all breaks down in the soil in that time.

    'The power of accurate observation .... is commonly called cynicism by those that have not got it.

    George Bernard Shaw'

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,836
    I use a wire frame rather than bags. Mainly because we have the frame but no bags.
    I dug in a lot of the freshly fallen wet leaves 2 years ago, when I dug a hole to plant a bare rooted tree a few days ago I found the leaves at the bottom of the hole, almost exactly the same as they were when I dug them in.
    One thing I do with the leaves in the frame is to trample them down.
    Another problem here is that with gravelled drive and very stony soil, when I collect the leaves there is often gravel with them. It does neither the lawn mower nor the shredder blades any good to try to shred gravel!

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