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A porous builder bag filled with autumn leaves and with its handles lashed together also works well.
Remember, you get out only a quarter to a third of what goes into a cage.
Soils bolstered with leaf mould become slowly darker in colour as their humus levels increase.
3 Potting mixer As well as a soil-enhancer, I mainly use leaf mould as part of my home-made and carbon-footprint-free sowing and potting mixes.
Whenever I add fresh material (kitchen scraps, tea-bags, coffee grinds, scrunched card, weeds), I add a handful of leaf mould, too.
It keeps the compost worms happy, and helps produce cracking compost.
5 Wild lives An unexpected benefit of making leaf mould is that you’re also encouraging garden biodiversity.
A few months after filling a cage, I often get a flush of mushrooms over the surface, as the alchemy of decomposition begins.
For small seeds, I pass this already refined mix through my finest eighth-inch (4mm) sieve to give me a seed covering that is akin to breadcrumbs.
My basic mix, which I use for seed sowing and for potting-up plug plants, bulbs and tomatoes, is a mix of three-year-old leaf mould and worm-worked garden compost, both passed through a quarter-inch (6mm) sieve and thoroughly blended.
This works well without any “added extras”, gives impressive growth and rivals the best peat-free composts that I buy in.
The result is a chunky mulch that is ideal for smothering young annual weeds and blocking out light to stop others coming up.
Nothing beats fresh leaf mould as a dark foil for showing off emerging perennials in a border filled with promise, and it works just as effectively around newly planted vegetables, fruit, or on top of containers to help prevent them from drying out.
Leaf mould helps bind loose, sandy soils and improves their water-holding ability.