...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Drag the Dead Carcass to the Road...

...and burn it! Some--myself included--have done that for years every autumn with each leaf body that litters their yards. But, despite the joy of that acrid tang of smoke lifting from burning leaf piles just shy of sunset, there is nevertheless a better way to go! Especially...

...if you don't have a compost tumbler and are trying to get by with the fence-pile, which by this point in the year, can be a bit distasteful during backyard cookouts and campfires. (This may be my only season to try this method.) A second option is to go with a simple leaf mold, the "lazy gardener's compost" as Maureen Gilmer describes it in The Small Budget Gardener.

"...it's easy to make and ready to use far sooner than compost. Plus, you
make it all at once in the fall. Leaf mold does not contain the high
nutrient content of compost, but it's a fine soil improver that can be enhanced
by fertilizer...
Leaf mold is made in a corral, which is simply a loose wire fence set in a
circle that allows you to fill it to the top with leaves. You can make as
many corrals as you wish, depending on how many leaves are available.
Here's how:
Obtain a length of woven wire fence 3 to 4 feet tall and long enough to
make an enclosure about 4 to 8 feet in diameter. If you have very few
leaves, make the circle only a few feet across. Secure it into a corral
ring with wire and stake it to stand up stiffly on its own.
When the leaves start to fall, rake them up and throw them into the
corral. When the first layer is about a foot deep, wet it down. Then
turn on some lively music, don your boots, and hop inside. Stomp the
leaves down into a tight layer.
Top each layer with a thin covering of soil, and scatter any organic
fertilizer you have along with it. If you have chickens or rabbits, their
manure is ideal.
The next time you rake leaves, put another foot-deep layer in the corral
and have another go at it. Get the kids involved, too. Repeat the
process until the corral is as full as you can get it. In warmer climates,
the leaf mold might be ready by late spring, but farther north, you can expect
it to mature by summer's end."

I've heard of stomping grapes, stomping leaves not so much...but the leaf mold cage certainly makes a more esthetically pleasing and aromatically acceptable backyard display than the open compost heap.

Happy raking!

No comments:

Post a Comment