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Build a leaf compost bin

Make leaf mould

Making your own compost is great fun and really good for your garden. You can make special compost out of leaves which is called leaf mould. Leaf mould works well as a soil improver, a mulch (soil covering), and can be used in your own compost mixes. Note: it’s best to use a bought compost for seed sowing as leaf mould may contain spores that can cause ‘damping off’. Leaf mould is best for older plants especially woodland plants. It is also good mixed with other composts for containers.

What you'll need

  • 4 bamboo canes, about 1.5m (5ft) high
  • 4 cane toppers or yoghurt pots to protect your eyes
  • Measuring sticks
  • 4.5m (15ft) plastic netting/windbreak netting
  • Thin gardening wire, cut into 10 pieces each 8-10cm (3-4in) long

What to do

  1. Put the cane toppers on the top of each cane for safety. Push the first corner cane firmly into the ground.

  2. Using the measuring sticks, form a 1 x 1m (3 1/4 x 3 1/4ft) square from the first cane and firmly push the other three canes into position.

  3. Unroll the netting and slowly walk around the four canes, so that the two ends meet and the four canes are enclosed.

  4. Fix the netting to the canes, by passing the wire through the net and twisting the two ends together tightly around the cane. Apply at least two pieces of wire per cane, spaced at the top and bottom.

  5. On the last cane, the netting should overlap and the wire should feed through both layers. The loose ends of the netting can either be cut off or attached to the other piece of netting with another piece of wire. This will form an enclosed bin ready for lots of leaves.

  6. Once the leaves start falling, collect the leaves and start to fill your bin.

  7. Water in the layers as you go, as this helps to rot the leaves down. It may take up to a year before the leaf mould is ready to dig in to improve the soil or use as mulch.