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Monty's Leaf mould making

Please don't get me wrong I am not having a go at him. He was right about making and using leaf mould. I do have a couple of questions though.
1 What kind of lawn mower does he use? Neither of ours chop up the leaves as his obviously does.

2. How does he avoid picking up stones when collecting leaves. Most of ours fall on the drive and no matter how careful we are there are always bits of gravel mixed in. Running the lawn mower over gravel is not a good idea. Ought to add that the leaves collected from the soil also have stones in them as the soil here is a very gravelly one.

3. Does he have Beech trees around the garden? If so how does he deal with the myriads of beech nut casings which don't seem to rot away even after years of lying on the soil?

I find that even if the leaves are not chopped up they still turn into good leaf mould, it just takes a bit longer, say 2 years instead of his one year.



  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,328
    Agree. I would say 3 years to make decent stuff, but the majority of ours are Beech, which takes longer.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • AstroAstro Posts: 418
    Really not totally sure of what Monty is doing I'll have to go back and watch a few episodes where he shreds leaves . But I'll have a guess.

    1. Perhaps he has a mulch setting on his mower, not all have this function .

    2. Personally to avoid stones and the like I set the mower higher to miss them. Another option is to rake them to an area you no is stone free if possible, a wide tine rake should help.

    3. Not sure of this, I suppose any harder to break down bits might be sieved and put elsewhere?
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,915
    As someone who has gravel, and has worked with clearing debris from it for many years in my former job, I can definitely state that a brush is far better for removing leaves from it than a rake or anything else. There's a technique to it , but it works extremely well with a bit of practise.  :)
    Couple of years for leaf mould for me here. I used to have a few containers in a previous garden, where I also had a couple of large trees. I never chopped them up either, but I agree that beech and some others take longer. I could use some of it earlier if it was just for mulching the base of a hedge or similar. 
    I got a load of leaves from a nearby source last year as I don't have any suitable trees in this garden. She's directly across from the NT garden near us. The whole boundary is beech - our most common tree round here, and the reason the road names contain it.  :)
    I had a look the other day and there's only a little change in them. They're in bags which also works very well, and they never dry out, so they need a shake now and again to keep them from becoming a solid mass. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 85,981
    I've a vague memory that I've watched him rake the leaves and spread them on the lawn before running the mower over them. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • AstroAstro Posts: 418
    Another method I found online and used was putting the leaves into a large container and shredding them with a strimmer. But as you and others have stated if there's no rush for them the are fine left whole.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,307
    I tried cutting mine up small  (probably plain tree leaves) but I never managed leaf mould in a year. I don't have a lawn and therefore no mower.
  • WoodgreenWoodgreen Posts: 1,273
    edited October 2022
    I use two petrol mowers. One has a collecting bag for the grass clippings, the other is a mulching mower.
    I use both for leaves.

    I use the mulching mower where there aren't enough leaves to justify the extra work with the collecting mower, and also for an area which is predominantly ash trees, the leaves of which degrade quickly into the turf.
    The mulching mower does a very  good job of chopping the leaves up and throwing them back down into the turf where they are taken into the soil by worms etc.

    The collecting mower chops them up into the bag, usually with a bit of grass if it's grown since the last collection. I find that very dry beech leaves don't get chopped as well as damp beech or other leaves. 
    I have gravel paths under trees and have always run the collecting mower along these with no problems. Occasionally I hear a bit of gravel hit the mower deck but I've done this for many years now and it works for me. I don't have it on a low setting for this, but not a really high one either.
    My cut-leafed beech has dropped lots of mast this year and I currently always finish any mowing by running over this area to clean the underside of the mower. The beech mast doesn't get picked up into the bag. Some years the ordinary beech drops mast but it's never been a problem, it just eventually disappears into the ground.
    Hope this helps.

    At this time of year my ground is soft and fairly wet, so the beech mast treads into the ground.
    In drier areas where the ground stays firm in autumn I can imagine it's quite different. 
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,893
    I've got a rarely used Black & Decker leaf blower/sucker that's about 25 yrs old.
    When I had a gravel drive it sucked up the leaves, but the gravel fell back onto the drive being a lot heavier than the leaves.
    As it sucks the leaves up they go through a 'blender' that chops them up before being deposited in the bag.
    Most of the leaves I get are oak which take 3-4 years to break down but eventually makes lovely leaf mould.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • I have seen Monty run over leaves with a rotary mower too.  I have used this method on leaves and on the Allotments on things like the potato tops before adding them to the compost.  Just use a high cut .
    AB Still learning

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,208
    High cut with our rotary mower does not pick up the leaves and a lower setting gets the blade wrecked with the gravel.
    Some of the beech nut casings are now three years old and virtually unchanged. They just go straight through the shredder by the way.
    We made three tons of leaf mould last year by the way. That is three tons after it has rotted down.
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