Making leaf compost
It's incredibly late this year, but the recent winds have finally brought down the last of the leaves. And when your lawn looks like this you need to do something about it!
Now here's a confession: I HATE my leafblower. It's incredibly heavy and using it for more than 10 minutes at a time leaves me with a backache. It's really inefficient if the leaves are even the slightest bit damp (and at this time of the year they're never completely dry), and when it does blow any it sends them in random directions so that I can't get them into a pile. It does in theory have a leaf vacuum built in, but that's even worse than the blower on damp leaves.
So I end up raking them up using a spring-tined rake. Here are my first 7 bags, by the time I'd finished I'd gone through double this number:
Now this could have meant a huge bonfire (if it wasn't so wet) or several trips up to the recycling centre. But I was keen to make my own leaf compost and I'd even invested in a couple of special leaf sacks. Basically you bag up your leaves and leave them in a hidden corner of your garden for 2 years:
In the past I've tried making leaf compost in a plastic bin bag, but instead of rotting down to a rich compost they slumped into a heavy, gooey mess. However, I've read that it is possible to get compost from them if you make sufficient holes in the bag for air to circulate, so I decided to give it another try. This time I made LOADS of holes quite quickly by folding each bag several times lengthways and using a 4 hole punch, moving the bag along a little bit after each set of holes:
And here's the end result. It will be a couple of years before I know for sure whether it's worked but I'll post the results in due course.