If you’re a gardener, you know how important it is to have good quality soil for your plants to grow. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to improve your soil is by using leaf mould. Leaf mould is simply decomposed leaves that have broken down into a rich, dark, soil-like material.
There are many different methods for making leaf mould. Constructing a leaf mould cage is one of the most effective ways that you can quickly and easily create a space. By containing the leaves within a cage or bin, you can speed up the decomposition process and ensure that your leaf mould is of high quality. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to create your own leaf mould cage, which will help you make the most of this valuable resource.
Step 1: Choose a location
The first step in creating a leaf mould cage is to choose a location. Ideally, you want to find a spot that is shady and sheltered from the wind. This will help to prevent the leaves from drying out too quickly. You also want to choose a location that is easy to access, as you will need to add leaves to the cage throughout autumn or summer when trees shed most all of many of their leaves.
Step 2: Build the cage
The next step is to build the leaf mould cage. There are several different ways to do this, but one of the simplest is to use wooden stakes and chicken wire. You can also opt to use rodent/snake mesh to ensure no crawling critters enter your pile. Begin by hammering the stakes into the ground to create your frame. Then, wrap the chicken wire or mesh around the stakes, securing it with staples or wire ties. When building the cage, you can really let your creativity go wild. From a simple shape to an extravagant piece of art your cage can be whatever you imagine.
Step 3: Add the leaves
Once you have built the cage, it’s time to start adding leaves. Rake up or blow fallen leaves from your lawn or gather them from nearby trees. You can also add other organic material, such as grass clippings or vegetable scraps, if you wish. The key is to create a thick layer of leaves inside the cage.
Step 4: Water the leaves
Once you have added the leaves, water them thoroughly. You want to moisten the leaves, but not soak them. This will help to kickstart the composting process and encourage the leaves to break down.
Step 5: Monitor the cage
Over the next few months, the leaves will start to break down and turn into leaf mould. You will need to monitor the cage to ensure that the leaves remain moist and that the composting process is progressing. If the leaves start to dry out, you can add more water. If the leaves start to smell, you can add more dry material, such as straw or shredded paper, to balance the moisture levels.
If keeping water up to your leaf cage isn’t your thing, you don’t have to water the leaves. Water simply speeds up the process. If you decide not to add water expect your leaf mould pile to be ready in 18-24 months.
Step 6: Harvest the leaf mould
After 6-12 months, depending on the size of the leaves and the moisture levels, the leaves should have turned into a dark, crumbly substance known as leaf mould. At this point, you can harvest the leaf mould and use it as a natural fertilizer for your garden. Simply remove the chicken wire from the cage and scoop out the leaf mould. You can also use the leftover material as a starter for your next batch of leaf mould.
Creating your own leaf mould cage is a simple and effective way to turn fallen leaves into a valuable resource for your garden. With a little effort, you can create nutrient-rich leaf mould that will help your plants thrive. Happy gardening!
What is The Leaf Collective?
The Leaf Collective has been created by Canberrans and was built and trailed by Social Marketing @ Griffith. The Leaf Collective is contributing to the prevention of algal blooms in Canberra’s waterways. Since launching the pilot program in 2021 more than 345,000L of leaves have been diverted from storm water drains. The program is supported by the ACT Government.