Gardeners love to make and use leaf mold. It is among the cost-effective ways of enriching the gardens. But making a leaf mold can take a long.
It requires a lot of patience, that many gardeners need. That is why a massive search for information on speeding up a leaf mold exists.
Dry leaves must be decomposed to make a leaf mold. The composting process is what delays the leaf mold.
How can you cause the leaves to decay faster? This is the question that needs answers among gardeners.
It is essential first to note that a leaf mold needs time. The leaves require six to 12 months for decomposition. But there is a way to shorten this period. The answer is the materials and procedures used to make the lead mold.
Some recommendations to speed up the lead mold include:
- Turn the leaf mold regularly to aerate
- Add nitrogen-rich ingredients to fasten decomposition
- Adding red worms in the leaf mold
Turning the leaf mold regularly
A slowly decomposing leaf mold needs to be turned regularly. Turning is considered crucial for aeration. The leaves need more air and heat to decompose.
It speeds up the breakdown process. Adding moisture is good for preventing the leaves from completely drying up.
Turning the leaf mold also allows for even decomposition. A good leaf mold decomposes evenly from the bottom to the top. Leaving the mold unturned can lead to an uneven breakdown. There may be a more pleasant leaf mold for use in the garden.
It is good to turn the leaf mold to avoid rotting. Rotting happens when a pile is left unattended for a long.
This means that the bottom content of the leaf mold may not be helpful. Turning avoids such waste and makes the process more effective.
What to put on leaves to make them decompose faster?
Additives on the leaf mold are necessary for quickening the decomposition. But identifying the proper additives to the leaf mold is difficult.
Gardeners need first to understand where they want to use the leaf mold. It is a guiding factor regarding what can be added for faster decomposition.
Adding nitrogen-rich ingredients has been linked to faster decomposition. These are extra elements that introduce the necessary bacteria to the compost.
The elements should be combined with regular moistening. They work better when the leaf mold is moistened and aerated.
Among the materials high in nitrogen are grass clippings. It is advisable to shred the leaves before adding the clippings. Smaller leaves are known to decompose faster than large sizes. They are also easy to turn when in need of aeration.
One cup of nitrogen fertilizer is enough to fasten the decomposition of 25 square feet of leaf mold.
This is good information for gardeners intending to accelerate decomposition. Following the advice from experts is good to avoid spoiling the leaf mold content.
Some experts recommend adding more carbon than nitrogen to the leaf mold. There are no definite ratios as to how these contents can be added. But one part nitrogen to 30 parts carbon is the standard ratio experts use.
Putting red worms is also linked to the fastening decomposition of a leaf mold. Adding the worms to the mix should be considered. The worms are linked to proper aeration of the soil. This activates the microbes by providing adequate oxygen.
One more important thing to note. You must always moisten the leaf mold as you add these elements. This is because the moisture content is required for easier decomposition. But avoid making the leaf mold soggy. The result may be unpleasant.
How long does it take for leaves to break down
Eventually, leaves will break down when making a leaf mold. But the time that the leaves take is the difference. Some leaves decompose quicker naturally.
But another needs little assistance to quicken the breakdown. Leaves such as oak, beech, or hornbeam are better when assisted in breaking down.
Some leaves may take longer to break down because of their size. Leaves of walnut and sweet chestnut must be shredded to fasten their breakdown.
They take longer if not assisted. These leaves also require regular moistening for faster results in decomposition.
Evergreens also take much longer to break down. They need to be dried first in the open. These leaves require regular turning for even break down. They do not require a lot of moisture. The moisture can cause quick rotting and spoil the leaf mold.
Will leaves decompose over winter?
There is no better time to make a leaf mold. The conditions set for the leaf mold are what matters. But better decomposition happens during warm or hot weather. Temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees are considered favorable for quick decomposition.
Cold temperatures during winter can slow down the decomposition. The microbes do not survive under winter weather. Other important fungi for decomposition do not do well in cold temperatures.
Winter weather also introduced too much moisture to the leaf mold. There are better times to turn the leaf mold. The results could be more appealing for use.
They may only be considered rotten leaves and not suitable for the garden. The disadvantage is that such leaves only attract snails. The end product could be better for the garden.
Containers or bags for making leaf mold
Any available container can be used to set up a leaf mold. But there are containers where the leaf mold does better.
Composting bins have been recommended as the best for leaf molds. They are created considering all the conditions necessary for decomposition.
Some gardeners prefer bags for their leaf molds. This is the most traditional way used by the gardeners. Plastic bin liners are commonly used.
This is because they are readily available. The gardeners punch holes for aeration. The holes also help in draining excess water.
Either the bag or the containers can work. The secret is to follow the procedure of making the leaf mold. It is also good to ensure all the conditions are favorable for decomposition.
The leaf mold should be transferred from the containers or bags to the garden immediately after it is ready.
The general view is that there is no easy way of making the leaf mold. There is also no standard way of doing it. Gardeners should work with what they have.
The goal should be to make the leaf quicker and get the desired results. It should also ensure the leaf mold enriches the garden for more excellent value.