Using Leaf Mould For Soil Nourishment
By Noshin Sarfraz
The most important step in gardening, whether for flowers or veggie growing is its foundation and base. The base comprises of soil, its structure, nature and characteristics. A poor soil which has never been amended but continuously used is a depleted soil and no amount of good seed, seedlings or plants will grow well in it.
Adding chemical fertilizers is not the answer but adding decomposed material in the form of composted plants, foliage or aged treated manures is the answer. The important factor is the decomposition aspect as adding non decomposed material will make the soil nitrogen deficient, which will be visible in the form of leaf burn and stunted poor growth.
The following things are a few examples of soil amendments to enrich it, consequently boost end result and get optimum benefit.
Leaf mould can be easily made at home by decomposing grass clippings, fallen leaves, kitchen residue like veggie fruit peels etc. The best thing to do is to make a pit which can be 5 ft deep by 5 ft wide. Fill it halfway with the material. Sprinkle 5 kg urea fertilizer, on top, add water with a shower to make it moist.
The idea is to make medium moist but not wet. As a wet medium turns into a slush and active decomposition cannot take place.
Fill up the rest of the pit, add another 5 kg urea, shower with water again, cover with a plastic, to speed up decomposition process.
After every 10 days or so shower with water to keep medium moist. The leaf mould will be ready in 4/5 months times. Decomposition process is slow in winters but quick in summers.
When you find medium decomposed, it will lose its heat and smell and the texture will turn crumbly. Now is the time to strain it in a metal sieve to remove any debris. The leaf mould is ready to use.
Leaf mould can be safely used for a soil amendment for any kind of plant. It can be used as a neat medium for flowers, seedlings. It can also be used as soil mix for with rice ash, press mud.
The only plant that that does not like leaf mould is the rose. Fungal infestation is liable to erupt in a rose plant when it’s used. Good leaf mould is called ‘Black Gold’ and there is no denying that it is.