Next time you rake your leaves why not save them and reuse them in the garden as temporary garden art? Better yet, after the leaves decompose they make excellent soil amendment. Here are a few ways composted leaves help improve your soil; 1). It is 100% organic matter that you’ve created. 2). It helps enrich sandy soils by retaining moisture and it helps to break up compacted clay soils by creating air pockets for water drainage and root growth. 3). By adding composted leaves to the soil they provide an excellent environment for earthworms and insects. 4). Best of all, it is free!
I created this garden leaf globe by salvaging several iron rings, these were used as backings for holiday wreaths, and then I used a high density wire and tied them to the rings in both a “longitude and latitude” arrangement to keep the leaves from blowing out on windy days. This also made it easy to stuff more leaves into the globe as the fall season progressed. Just keep the leaves slightly moistened by watering once a week (this accelerates the decomposition rate). Take the decomposed leaves out from the bottom as you need them and add them to the soil. The process takes about 6-8 months depending on weather factors like humidity, sunlight, moisture and type of leaf. These are Sycamore leaves and will take about 8 months before they can be used in the garden. Leaves are not like traditional compost materials such as garden clippings and kitchen scraps which incorporate bacteria to decompose. Leaves take longer to break down because fungi are responsible for decomposition and unlike bacteria do not work in the presence of heat found in common composts. Good luck and I’ll be seeing you around the garden!
photo credit: mike brown