Use Fall Leaves by Making a “leafy” Shape for Your Garden
In many regions, fall leaves add flavor to the season, but they are also annoying as they grow on the ground. Most people just scoop them up and throw them away, but you can actually use their nutrients by creating what’s called leaf mildew.
It’s similar to the composting process … in that it’s a very small process. Time is the most important factor because you are just waiting for the leaves to decompose. In the above video from GrowVeg, we learn the basics of making sheet mold. You are obviously collecting a bunch of leaves first. Grinding them will accelerate decomposition, although this is not necessary. Then you can make a cage out of wire mesh and pile them up. This is the key to keeping the leaves moist; Unlike composting, the leaves are mainly destroyed by fungi, not bacteria. Alternatively, you can put them in trash bags that you can simply throw aside (remember to puncture the bags to keep them breathable). Then all you have to do is wait.
It will take about two years to create the ideal shape for the leaves. Yes, this is a long process. If you don’t want to wait years, you can use younger, larger leaf molds as your surface mulch. However, if you wait two or three years, you will be rewarded with fine, rich organic matter that you can use to add nutrients to the soil. For more information on leaf mold, visit Gardeners.com . As for why you may not have heard of “leaf mildew” before, it appears to be a British convention.