We are trying another new (to us) concept this year. This one involves leaves. We’ve always just raked up the extra leaves from the ditch below the big oak tree and added them to the compost pile. But in my reading last Autumn, I found that leaves are not composted by the same bacteria that break down other organic matter. Leaves are actually broken down by molds.
Molding Leaves for next year’s garden
So we’re experimenting. We raked up the oak leaves (some pine needles and other leaves as well) and put them in these wire bins. You don’t have to purchase bins. You could make them out of old fencing or chicken wire. Mercy stomped them down for use and we added more. We’re going to see how they “compost” or, rather, mold over the next year. Then we plan on adding them to the garden.
According to Elliot Coleman, author of one of my favorite gardening books, leaf mold is an excellent tonic for cole crops like cabbage & broccoli. Mr. Coleman also suggests tilling leaves directly into your garden beds. We may try this as well with some leaves caught in the fence behind the garden. The chickens have shredded them up a bit so they will be easier to till in. Now we need some dry, warmer weather so we can actually till without destroying the soil structure!