Making Leaf Mulch
The leaves are finally starting to fall off the trees. Now is a good time to consider making leaf mulch or mould for your garden. Leaf mulch has many uses - from planting seedlings to mulching the garden.
All leaves can be mulched, but some take longer to break down - such as conifer. The best leaves to use are from oak, beech and hornbeam trees. If you have thicker leaves, such as horse chestnut, then shredding the leaves will help the breakdown process. Evergreen leaves can be used, although it is possible to add these directly to the compost heap.
Rake up and collect leaves as they fall. Do not leave on the lawn as this will kill off the grass. Leaving on stony paths is not recommended either as this encourages worms to get to work and before you know it the stones will have lots of dirt around them.
There are two ways of storing leaves - either in a cage of old netting, or raking into bin liners. Leaves need to be moist and aerated in the cage - turn them and keep them damp. If you are using a bag make sure the leaves are damp and prick holes in the bag before tying loosely. Generally leaves will take up to two years to break down sufficiently, so find a corner of the garden to store until they are needed.
Well rotted leaf mulch can be used to grown seedlings in, or can be put directly on the garden. If it is not so well rotted is can be used as a mulch directly onto the garden as a winter covering.
For a little effort you have free compost and mulch for the garden!