Use those autumn leaves


DIY and how-to

Vibrant red and green tropical plant leaves with water droplets on a grey background.

Instead of raking up all those fallen leaves and throwing them away, try collecting them and making your own leaf mould. Leaf mould is a clean, odourless alternative to compost and it can be used to feed the entire garden.

Here’s how to store your leaves and allow them to decompose (neatly) on their own:

  • Build a temporary square-shaped enclosure by using four wooden poles (sharpen the ends of the poles and hammer them into the ground).
  • Use cable ties to attach chicken mesh all around the square enclosure. Aim to make the enclosure about 1.5m high and 1mx1m in breadth and width.
  • Collect fallen autumn leaves and throw them inside the enclosure. Leaves should be placed directly onto the soil below as this allows soil organisms to penetrate the leaves from below and speed up the decomposition process.
  • It’s best to build your enclosure in a shady area of the garden as this will prevent the leaves from drying out.
  • The entire decomposition process should take 4-6 months. In spring, use the leaf mould to feed the entire garden and then dismantle the structure for use again next autumn.
  • If you don’t have space for a leaf enclosure, leaves can be collected and placed in black bags. Seal the bags, punch a few holes to allow air to penetrate and store them in a shady area of the garden. You should have nutritious leaf mould after about 6 months.