A burning question. Is leaf mold edible?

No. Leaf mold is however the ultimate garnish for your garden borders. A culinary equivalent would be a no-calorie, but delicious icing on the cake ; icing that permeates gently through until your cake is light and airy. In the soil, it improves texture – how the soil feels. If you have clay soil it breaks it up. If you have sandy or impoverished chalky soil it bulks it up. Mixing leaf mold into planting holes or using it as a mulch, helps the soil hold on to water. Counter-intuitively your soil will also drain more freely. It is simply tip top at helping create the perfect and most manageable soil. Have you seen those labels in plant pots, which say ‘prefers moist, well- drained soil’? They make you groan inwardly, and dream ‘if only, if only’. Well the good news is that this perfect soil, easy to work and lowering plant care maintenance is attainable: just get your hands on, or better still, make, your very own leaf mold.

How do you do this. Rake up and pile up the leaves, but definitely don’t burn them (think carbon emissions). I place rabbit fencing round stakes so the air gets in there but the wind can’t let them fly. Alternatively bag them up and stick your fork through the bottom of your bags – recycle compost bags perhaps – so air can get in there and speed the decomposition. If you can’t get hold of leaves, any well rotted organic matter is a godsend to add to your border, whatever your soil type.

I saw my hair dresser today, the lovely Sam who told me she spent time with her family in the garden at the weekend clearing up oak leaves and enjoying being outside. I’m looking forward to seeing Sam’s leaf mold (and even more so, her newest family member due in 10 days) Good luck Sam !

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