In the Cowichan Region we are fortunate to have a vast amount of free organic amendments to use in our gardens. Big leaf maples, which grow so abundantly in our region, provide a rich source of organic material that can used to create leaf mould. Leaf mould is fully composted leaves that can be used as a wonderful soil conditioner, helping aerate the soil, retain moisture, and support microbial activity.
The steps are easy…
First you need access to lots of leaves, and at this time of year there is an abundance on hand. An efficient method is to create a six foot diameter circle with a 4 foot high piece of wire fencing, dump the leaves in, and pack them as you keep adding more. If the leaves are very dry, spray each additional layer with a small amount of water to aid in the decomposition process.
Every few months turn the pile with a pitchfork and in two years you will have a pile of beautiful rich dark leaf mould.
The leaf mould can be used to amend clay soils (increasing the organic matter and aeration of this heavy soil type), also to top dress perennials in spring, or used as mulch any garden bed. Leaf mould is also a great replacement for peat moss.
If you have the space to create a leaf mould pile, it’s a luxury to have this resource on hand through the seasons. Grab a rake and get started!
Ceres Edible Landscaping offers organic horticultural services from garden design to maintenance, utilising the principles of permaculture. Book a consultation for guidance on creating new gardens, renovating old ones, or adding edibles. Call Nora at 250.748.8506. We’re here to help you realize your garden dreams.