Leaf Mould Bin

The outdoor structure club built a leaf mould bin to make compost.

Autumn leaves are mainly broken down by the slow action of fungi rather than by bacteria that decompose other compost bin ingredients quickly, so it’s best to compost them separately in a simple cage.

The leaves of all deciduous trees make good leaf mould. Small thin leaves such as birch break down fairly quickly, while large leathery ones such as chestnut are better being shredded first. Evergreen leaves and conifer needles take far longer to rot and should not be included in great quantities, and then only when chopped.

After a year, the leaves will have only half rotted, but will break up easily. They can be used for soil improvement or for mulching around shrubs, where they will continue to rot down in situ. After two years most will have turned into fine, dark leaf mould. Which can be used as a seed-sowing medium or mixed with equal parts of fine garden compost, loam and sharp sand for potting.

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