Monday, 9 December 2013

Harvesting leaves

As I described a few days ago, the very strong winds we experienced last Thursday did me a favour by sweeping up all the fallen leaves.

At the weekend I used my electric leaf-blower / sucker to suck up these leaves so that I could put them in bins and use them for making leaf-mould. The machine performs a dual service in that it not only sucks the leaves up into a bag, but also roughly chops them, which aids decomposition and reduces their overall volume. Even so, I now have two containers full of leaves:

One of these is a conventional "Dalek-style" compost bin, with a lid;

The other is the remains of an old compost bin that was destroyed in a storm a few years ago. I salvaged the bottom half of it, so it is just a bottomless ring of plastic, but it will serve well enough for making leafmould:

You'll notice that I watered the leaves. This helps them to rot down quicker. I won't need to do this with the open ring, which is exposed to the elements, but in the case of the other bin I will remove the lid every so often and add more water.

I thought you might like to see what else is in that rather un-picturesque corner of the garden, other than leaf-bins...

Well, firstly there is another - yes another - plastic compost bin. This one is used conventionally, for making compost. Notice the line of bricks at the base, vainly attempting to discourage wildlife burrowing for worms. And then there is my log-pile and insect hotel:

They are scruffy, that's for sure, but the bugs will love them all the more for that!  The idea is to provide somewhere undisturbed for the tiny creatures at the bottom of the foodchain to live. The little creatures provide food for bigger creatures like birds, hedgehogs, shrews and frogs. For me as a gardener certain species, such as molluscs and aphids, are "beyond the pale" and are to be exterminated wherever found, but I consider most others - like beetles, Ladybirds and spiders - to be beneficial, so I am doing my bit to keep them happy. Notice that on top of the pallet that forms the insect hotel there is part of an old bird-bath. I keep this filled with water so that any creatures that need it can always get a drink.

P.S. I'm not entering for Harvest Monday this week, because I haven't harvested anything - unless you count fallen leaves, of course!


  1. It's just a shame that leaves rot down to hardly anything, though what you do get is lovely stuff. I love your little insect hotel, I really must get round to making one at the allotment this year.

  2. I always consider the leaf collection every fall a must. And like you I try to keep the critters out of my compost. It is always a challenge. I had the bottom well fortified but then the mice found out that the side slats are easy to get into. I seem to be fine this year at least.

  3. So you didn't need to do a Monty Don and go over the leaves with a lawn mower, I've left the leaves on the hellebore bed to simulate a woodland glade.

  4. Your little wood pile - I had a wood pile for years. By years, I mean years. It took years to be reduced to loverly dust. In the meantime, other bits and bobs of leaves and things had fallen over it. About six weeks ago, I cleared off this upper layer so I could distribute the . . . whatever it is, not exactly loam . . . around the garden. Over night, all the neighbourhood cats came in and used it as litter. Disaster!


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