The Veg Plot

How to make leaf mould

Autumn has arrived and the trees surrounding our allotment are busy littering our neglected veggie beds and adjoining pathways with their crispy detritus. It’s a tidy-up task we rarely relish, but having recently conducted both rake and brush product reviews for the Indy Best, and currently testing Stihl’s new cordless Kombi engine (complete with leaf blower attachment), we are properly tooled up to conquer this annual leafy intrusion.

If brush-work sounds like too much effort then there is, of course, a huge choice of other equipment that can help you to collect leaves and other debris in one pile, such as these leaf blowers and leaf vacuums.

Having herded the pesky leaves into a huge pile it’s time to turn them into nutritious, humus rich compost for next year’s plants.

It’s easy! Here’s how to make it…

How to make leaf mould

Step 1: Gather
First off, sweep, rake or blow your leaves into a large pile.*

Step 2: Bag
Stuff your gathered leaves into a large bin bag (or bags).

Step 3: Water
Give the bag of leaves a soaking from your trustiest watering can, prod some holes in the sides of the bag, then tie the bag shut to stop leaves jumping out and running away.

Step 4: Wait
Leave your leafy bags in an out-of-the way place in your garden and WAIT. Your leaves will rot down into a rich, crumbly mixture – a process which will take around 12-18 months. To speed things up a little, run the leaves over with a mower before bagging and you’ll be flinging lovely leaf mould around within 6-8 months.

If you can’t bear the wait, you can always use your collected leaves as a garden mulch. Give them a good soaking to help weigh them down and pack them around your plants to keep them warm overwinter whilst discouraging weeds to join the battle for soil space.

For the even lazier, just let your pile of leaves be. A decent pile of leaves in an out-of-the-way place will be much appreciated by garden wildlife, acting as an insect larder and a warm place to kip during the cold winter nights.

Our brush of choice is the Bulldozer, which we** recently rated as ‘number one’ in our Indy Best brush roundup. Ours was kindly supplied by Bentley Tools, and is available to buy here…


* Be wary of drive-by dog attacks.

**I say ‘we’ but mean ‘me’. When Nick divvied up the last round of Indy Best reviews to write, he suspiciously pulled out ‘Best Beer Hampers’ and ‘Best Tequilas and Mezcals’. I got brooms and rakes…


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