14. Nov, 2019

Leaves: leafmould and composting

The fall is now with us and while leaves can be composted, and green summer leaves usually are, the  large quantities of leaves resulting from the autumn fall present a challenge calling for a different technique and are best converted to leafmould.   

Even a cool compost bin will generate heat, in part, due to the activity of bacteria  helping to breakdown its contents but the process of producing leafmould  relies more on fungal action, than bacterial activity, and occurs at lower temperatures so that while compost may take a few weeks or months depending on the type of leaves and  process being used leafmould usually takes a year or two.

Most autumn leaves are an excellent source of carbon but depending on species may be slower to compost than the rest of the material in the bin if using cold composting techniques. However, as leafmould they become excellent mulch and a key ingredient when making homemade potting and seed composts   Making your own potting mix is a personal contribution to saving peat bogs and reduces road miles by producing the product on site.  

The Leafmould and leaf composting page of carryoncomposting http://www.carryoncomposting.com/142941489  has been updated to include more information on the suitability of different leaves and on methods.