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Leaf Mold vs. Compost  Empty Leaf Mold vs. Compost

Post  sfg4uKim on 8/14/2016, 3:03 pm

Thought this might be handy for everyone with Autumn creeping up on us.

You're probably familiar with Composting, but putting too many leaves in your compost pile is not a great idea.

Instead, how about making leaf mold?

Here's a great TEDx talk by Mel's friend Mike McGrath. I guarantee you'll start stealing your neighbors' leaves this year: LEAF MOLD - MIKE McGRATH TEDx TALK


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Post  sanderson on 8/14/2016, 7:40 pm

Good video.

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Post  landarch on 8/14/2016, 11:05 pm

I've seen this before...good info.  I do my SFG near the street (front yard) because I have four large bur oak trees that shade the remainder of my lot...I bag them with my Honda quadracut mulching mower, pour them out on the lawn, and mulch again as oaks take longer to break down.  I am thinking of offer to bag my neighbor's maple leaves this year to add some variety.
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Post  countrynaturals on 8/15/2016, 1:37 am

@landarch wrote:I've seen this before...good info.  I do my SFG near the street (front yard) because I have four large bur oak trees that shade the remainder of my lot...I bag them with my Honda quadracut mulching mower, pour them out on the lawn, and mulch again as oaks take longer to break down.  I am thinking of offer to bag my neighbor's maple leaves this year to add some variety.
I also have oak leaves. I read that they have all the necessary minerals, but not all the nitrogen we need, so we should add manure (which I have plenty of -- horses). It also said that oak leaves are acidy, so we need to add garden lime for non-acid loving plants. We're getting a chipper/shredder, so I'm gonna try running the aged manure and whole oak leaves through and see if I can get "instant compost" out of it. Cool
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Post  yolos on 8/15/2016, 7:47 am

@countrynaturals wrote:
@landarch wrote:I've seen this before...good info.  I do my SFG near the street (front yard) because I have four large bur oak trees that shade the remainder of my lot...I bag them with my Honda quadracut mulching mower, pour them out on the lawn, and mulch again as oaks take longer to break down.  I am thinking of offer to bag my neighbor's maple leaves this year to add some variety.
I also have oak leaves. I read that they have all the necessary minerals, but not all the nitrogen we need, so we should add manure (which I have plenty of -- horses). It also said that oak leaves are acidy, so we need to add garden lime for non-acid loving plants. We're getting a chipper/shredder, so I'm gonna try running the aged manure and whole oak leaves through and see if I can get "instant compost" out of it. Cool
I use live oak leaves and running them thru a chipper helps but they still take forever to decompose in a normal compost pile.  I tried making Leaf Mold with them but after 1 year I really couldn't tell any difference maybe except they were a darker color.  The leaves at the bottom were good enough to use as mulch.  It helped when I made sure they were moist and also turned every once in a while.
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Post  countrynaturals on 8/15/2016, 11:29 am

@yolos wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:
@landarch wrote:I've seen this before...good info.  I do my SFG near the street (front yard) because I have four large bur oak trees that shade the remainder of my lot...I bag them with my Honda quadracut mulching mower, pour them out on the lawn, and mulch again as oaks take longer to break down.  I am thinking of offer to bag my neighbor's maple leaves this year to add some variety.
I also have oak leaves. I read that they have all the necessary minerals, but not all the nitrogen we need, so we should add manure (which I have plenty of -- horses). It also said that oak leaves are acidy, so we need to add garden lime for non-acid loving plants. We're getting a chipper/shredder, so I'm gonna try running the aged manure and whole oak leaves through and see if I can get "instant compost" out of it. Cool
I use live oak leaves and running them thru a chipper helps but they still take forever to decompose in a normal compost pile.  I tried making Leaf Mold with them but after 1 year I really couldn't tell any difference maybe except they were a darker color.  The leaves at the bottom were good enough to use as mulch.  It helped when I made sure they were moist and also turned every once in a while.
Hmm, so what I need is a giant coffee grinder? I'm sure I could find an old food processor at a yard sale, but that would be very labor intensive. We have a cement mixer, but I'm not ready for a divorce, yet. affraid There must be something I could do to pulverize these puppies. thinking
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Post  yolos on 8/15/2016, 12:47 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
@yolos wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:
@landarch wrote:I've seen this before...good info.  I do my SFG near the street (front yard) because I have four large bur oak trees that shade the remainder of my lot...I bag them with my Honda quadracut mulching mower, pour them out on the lawn, and mulch again as oaks take longer to break down.  I am thinking of offer to bag my neighbor's maple leaves this year to add some variety.
I also have oak leaves. I read that they have all the necessary minerals, but not all the nitrogen we need, so we should add manure (which I have plenty of -- horses). It also said that oak leaves are acidy, so we need to add garden lime for non-acid loving plants. We're getting a chipper/shredder, so I'm gonna try running the aged manure and whole oak leaves through and see if I can get "instant compost" out of it. Cool
I use live oak leaves and running them thru a chipper helps but they still take forever to decompose in a normal compost pile.  I tried making Leaf Mold with them but after 1 year I really couldn't tell any difference maybe except they were a darker color.  The leaves at the bottom were good enough to use as mulch.  It helped when I made sure they were moist and also turned every once in a while.
Hmm, so what I need is a giant coffee grinder? I'm sure I could find an old food processor at a yard sale, but that would be very labor intensive. We have a cement mixer, but I'm not ready for a divorce, yet. affraid There must be something I could do to pulverize these puppies. thinking
Lawn mower.  I set up a sort of corral and mowed over them a few times.  Then I got smart and used my lawn mower with a bag attachment.  I have also used one of those leaf blowers that you can convert into a leaf vacumn that sucks up the leaves and shreds them.  I have also used a string trimmer with leaves inside a garbage can.  And last but not least, a gas powered leaf shredder.
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Post  sanderson on 8/15/2016, 2:16 pm

Lawn mower with bag is good, especially if you do it twice.  Or cheap-o chipper/shredder like Jimmy and I have.  Just remember that oak may take over a year, won't be ready for next spring, or next fall, even with horse pooh.  Water and turn occasionally and have patience.  Meanwhile, use other leaves for compost for next spring. I need a better photo of the chipper/shredder. Leaf Mold vs. Compost  Compos13

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Post  Kelejan on 8/15/2016, 3:16 pm

@landarch wrote:I've seen this before...good info.  I do my SFG near the street (front yard) because I have four large bur oak trees that shade the remainder of my lot...I bag them with my Honda quadracut mulching mower, pour them out on the lawn, and mulch again as oaks take longer to break down.  I am thinking of offer to bag my neighbor's maple leaves this year to add some variety.


I already have four neighbours lined up to give me their leaves this fall. Just in my  evening walk area that takes 15 minutes.  (I go round twice so that is 30 minutes walk each night,) I do not need to ask them, just sweep up when ready.  Most likely they will sweep up for and bag them.  I can take my shopping trolley and gather three bags full at a time whenever I feel like it. 

So far one oak tree, one maple tree and another two trees that have small leaves.  Plus my own apple, cherry and birch trees.
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Post  landarch on 8/15/2016, 6:20 pm

IT's good to make arrangements for leaves...I have a pick-up truck and can usually find bags of leaves for the taking during the fall, however you never really know what is in the bags...acorns, maple and ash seeds, sticks, dog pool, chunks of asphalt and gravel, etc.  If neighbors know you are taking them they may take more care in what they put in.
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Post  countrynaturals on 8/15/2016, 6:33 pm

@yolos wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:
@yolos wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:
@landarch wrote:I've seen this before...good info.  I do my SFG near the street (front yard) because I have four large bur oak trees that shade the remainder of my lot...I bag them with my Honda quadracut mulching mower, pour them out on the lawn, and mulch again as oaks take longer to break down.  I am thinking of offer to bag my neighbor's maple leaves this year to add some variety.
I also have oak leaves. I read that they have all the necessary minerals, but not all the nitrogen we need, so we should add manure (which I have plenty of -- horses). It also said that oak leaves are acidy, so we need to add garden lime for non-acid loving plants. We're getting a chipper/shredder, so I'm gonna try running the aged manure and whole oak leaves through and see if I can get "instant compost" out of it. Cool
I use live oak leaves and running them thru a chipper helps but they still take forever to decompose in a normal compost pile.  I tried making Leaf Mold with them but after 1 year I really couldn't tell any difference maybe except they were a darker color.  The leaves at the bottom were good enough to use as mulch.  It helped when I made sure they were moist and also turned every once in a while.
Hmm, so what I need is a giant coffee grinder? I'm sure I could find an old food processor at a yard sale, but that would be very labor intensive. We have a cement mixer, but I'm not ready for a divorce, yet. affraid There must be something I could do to pulverize these puppies. thinking
Lawn mower.  I set up a sort of corral and mowed over them a few times.  Then I got smart and used my lawn mower with a bag attachment.  I have also used one of those leaf blowers that you can convert into a leaf vacumn that sucks up the leaves and shreds them.  I have also used a string trimmer with leaves inside a garbage can.  And last but not least, a gas powered leaf shredder.
I found an electric mulcher that swears I can put the leaves in and set the dial to "fine" and use immediately for compost or mulch. So, what could possibly go wrong?  Rolling Eyes
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Post  sanderson on 8/15/2016, 8:21 pm

rofl

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Post  has55 on 9/15/2018, 2:16 pm

great ted talk. thought I add these video. Overall I really enjoyed the Ted talk.









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Post  has55 on 9/15/2018, 2:52 pm

He always has fun things to say. Has anyone checked out his voodoo garden channel?


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Post  bluelacedredhead on 9/17/2018, 11:14 am

I first came across info on Leaf Mold about 12 years ago I believe? I've been doing it ever since, in yards of the three homes we've lived in during this time.  

The only problem I have at this house is the corner where I am able to put the composter that I used for composting leaves is in a dark corner and it takes about two years for them to break down to my satisfaction. We are on a small city lot and I haven't any place else that I can move it to that it wouldn't be rotting under a neighbour's nose. So come spring, I dig them out as soon as the soil can be worked, then bury them in the garden, giving them a few weeks to let them further decompose before last frost date and planting.
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Post  OhioGardener on 9/17/2018, 3:42 pm

@bluelacedredhead wrote:I first came across info on Leaf Mold about 12 years ago I believe? I've been doing it ever since, in yards of the three homes we've lived in during this time.  

The only problem I have at this house is the corner where I am able to put the composter that I used for composting leaves is in a dark corner and it takes about two years for them to break down to my satisfaction. We are on a small city lot and I haven't any place else that I can move it to that it wouldn't be rotting under a neighbour's nose. So come spring, I dig them out as soon as the soil can be worked, then bury them in the garden, giving them a few weeks to let them further decompose before last frost date and planting.

Food for thought - If you layer leaves, coffee grounds, leaves, coffee grounds,......., the worms will assist in composting the leaves in a very short period of time.  We have an abundance of free coffee grounds from the local Starbucks stores, and spread the coffee grounds and filters over the leaves and then cover with more leaves. It isn't high enough pile to create hot compost, and the worms love the fertile moist conditions. Within a few months there is nothing left but a pile of leaf compost with lots of worm castings.
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Post  bluelacedredhead on 9/17/2018, 3:58 pm

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
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Post  has55 on 9/17/2018, 4:22 pm

thanks for the info OG. I decided to do the leaf compost in one bin and use only food scrape in the new outdoor worm bin. The worms can escape into the grow when necessary.
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Post  has55 on 1/7/2019, 10:13 pm

I put down a covered crop this early winter, I was slow and lazy in getting this done, but the seedling came through the leaf mulch I applied to the soil. I aerated it yesterday. I hope it makes some great leaf mold, we have been getting some good rain. don't know the seed mix been in my drawer 2 years. I used a pitch fork to areate the mulch.

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Post  sanderson on 1/8/2019, 2:14 am

Leaf mold!

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Post  Dan in Ct on 1/8/2019, 12:04 pm

Leaf mold and compost made from mostly leaves are two totally different things. Leaf mold is a cold process that is almost totally fungal dominated and it can take 2-3 years to make a proper leaf mold. A compost made from mostly leaves can be either a hot or a cold process and initially it is a bacterial dominated process, finished compost if made well should have a diverse microbial population, takes between 6 months and 2 years depending upon method and region. Most plants, about 70% grow better with mycorrhizae in the soil and one of the reasons why no-till works. The larger the fungal network is in your soil the more readily available plant nutrients become. Leaf mulch is leaf mulch and if it breaks down, is more of a sheet compost than a leaf mold.

I hope I am not coming off as a know-it-all, that is not my intention. Just trying to clarify what seems to me as misconceptions. It is just that I have spent the last 10-12 years studying soil health so as a Bucketeer, I would have the healthiest soil mix with which to fill my containers. I do use all three, leaf mold, compost with leaves as a major ingredient and leaves as mulch and each one is used for a different rhyme or reason.
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Post  has55 on 1/9/2019, 9:12 am

Thanks, very helpful.
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