Leaf mold and compost are among the soil amendment methods used by gardeners. Both are almost similar in composition. But the leaf mold is only made of leaves.
The leaf mold only starts with green materials. But the compost has other elements aimed at enriching the soil.
Both the leaf mold and the compost undergo the same breaking process. The decomposition rate may not be the same. But they eventually decompose.
Compost and leaf mold – which one wins?
One significant difference is the nutrient content. The compost is considered to have more nutrients than the leaf mold. The leaf mold works better as a humic soil conditioner.
Some justifications can be used to explain why leaf mold is better than compost.
- Leaf mold is easier to make
- Leaf mold is better in soil amendment
- Compost contains more nitrogen than leaf mold
- Leaf mold takes longer to make
Leaf mold is easier to make
Leaf mold is very easy to make compared to the tedious compost process. It requires more time to break down the leaf mold.
The compost pile is easier to break. This is because it has some added ingredients that quicken the decomposition.
A gardener can make the leaf most with minimal assistance. It only calls for piling up leaves and leaving them to break. Making compost requires proper organization.
It also requires different materials to make. The preparation process can also take longer than making a leaf mold.
Quickening the decomposition process is easier for a leaf mold. It only requires chopping the leaves and piling them. The compost requires adding extra elements.
This includes adding nitrogen elements. It is why gardeners may prefer the leaf mold over the compost.
Leaf mold is better in soil amendment
Leaf mold works better for soil amendment compared to compost. The leaf mold does not contain any harmful chemicals in the soil. It is left for a long to break down.
The chemicals also break down before introduction to the soil. Compost is known to have chemicals. This is especially chemicals from the added elements.
Leaf mold also feeds the soil life more compared to compost. The worms love leaf mold more than the compost in the soil. The worms eat up the leaf mold as they aerate the soil. This is different from the compost, which only attracts a few worms.
But it is good to note that the leaf mold has a shorter shelf life. It should be introduced to the soil immediately after it is ready. It has ready nutrients for absorption. But the compost can take longer. It can be stored for later seasons.
Compost contains more nitrogen than leaf mold.
A significant advantage of the compost over the leaf mold is its nitrogen content. There are more nutrients, including nitrogen content, in the compost.
This is because the making process adds many elements to the compost. The compost works better than the leaf mold as organic fertilizer.
The disadvantage is that the compost may also contain pesticide chemicals. The chemicals can be transferred to the soil and cause harm.
This is why it is necessary to understand how to use each of these in the soil. It is also good to understand which plants do well with each of them.
Leaf mold takes longer to make
Another disadvantage of the leaf mold is the time it takes to make. There are better options for a gardener who wants a quick amendment to the soil for planting.
Sometimes a leaf mold can take over a year to complete the decomposition. That is why the compost works better in this case.
There is not much difference between the compost and the leaf mold. It all depends on what a gardener prefers to make and use.
It is advisable to understand the components of each. It is also advisable to know how they work in the garden. This can help decide where and when to use leaf mold or compost.