Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Watching the leaves molder

Here is my newest garden creation.

Yes, it looks like a pile of leaves--and, no wonder, because that's what it is--but, more importantly, it's leaf mold in the making. I've been wishing for a place where I could pile up dried shredded leaves in the fall and shovel out rich leaf mold in the spring, one or two years hence. With such a small plot of land, there's not much extra space. At last, the long overdue demolition of a playhouse in a back corner of the back quarter acre offered an ideal location, tucked-away but still accessible. Now I have a spot for watching the leaves molder--the winter version of summer's sport, watching the grass grow.

The two main trees dropping leaves on my yard are a weeping beech and a rag-tag maple. I raked up their leaves and mowed over the piles twice. Given that I had to use a gas mower to chop up the leaves, there may be an environmental false economy in this organic endeavor . . . but it felt like the right thing to do nevertheless. I heaped the chopped leaves into a pile. More ambitious gardeners use plastic bags, wire cages, or garbage cans to produce leaf mold.

The mold will be used to top-dress beds, mulch plants, and generally improve soil condition. Now, if only I could collect leaves from my neighbors' yards . . . .

1 comment:

Northern Shade said...

It looks like you have a lot of leaf mold in the making. I really like the texture of leaves as they decompose, and they make such a great mulch or soil amendment for the garden.
I keep mine tucked out of view at the side of the house next to the raspberry patch. Those canes are so robust, I'm sure they could reach over and help themselves to some mulch if they wanted.