MAKE LEAF MOLD
Another great at home use for leaves is to make leaf mold. Leaf mold differs from compost in that when you compost leaves you mix them with other organic matter. When you make leaf mold, all you use are leaves.
How to Make Leaf Mold
You can chop up your leaves with a mower or use whole leaves for this process. Next by making sure the leaves are thoroughly moistened. Dry leaves begin to lose nitrogen, and this hinders the decomposition process. Next, you can take the slow route and pile leaves in a sheltered, inconspicuous area of your yard and leave them for two years. Or, you can make a 3-by-3-foot leaf mold bin from drive stakes and chicken wire or rabbit fence and place the leaves in the enclosure. You can speed up either process by turning your pile or cage every 8 to 10 weeks. There are several ways to use leaf mulch. Leaf mold is a good substitute for peat moss. It has similar qualities and it's a renewable resource from your own lawn.
Benefits of Leaf Mold
Leaf mold greatly improves the structure and water-holding capacity of soil. It also creates the perfect conditions for the beneficial organisms that live in your soil. Best of all, it’s easy to do. Leaf mold is a perfect mulch because it can hold up to 500 times its own weight in water. Place it around (but not touching) the crowns of annuals, perennials, and vegetables to help them maintain moisture during summer. It's easier for roots to penetrate soil and take up nutrients when the soil is
not as dense and leaf mold makes it easier for roots to penetrate. A University of Connecticut study found that soils amended with leaf mold increased their waterholding capacity by almost 50 percent. The amended soil could hold nearly a two-week supply of water for vegetables.