Turn over your old leaves

The list of garden tasks to tackle starts to dwindle as the nights draw in and winter beckons, but by spending a little time tidying now you can help boost the health of your new season plants.
Clear deciduous leaves from paths and borders to make leaf mould, a free compost which will do wonders for your borders, enhancing plant growth and aiding moisture retention.
No special equipment is required. First, use a lawnmower with grassbox [on a high setting] to both collect and shred the leaves. If they are not already damp then spray them with a garden hose or watering can. Then place the leaves in a bin bag with holes punched in it. Leave the bag in a secluded spot to rot down.
The breakdown of leaves depends on the species of tree you have. Ash and apple will take just weeks, while oak and beech will take a year or so to rot.
To speed up the composting process, add a handful of lime and bonemeal to the leaves. You could also give the bag a shake or turn the leaves over periodically while they break down. Should your leaves start to dry out, spray them again with water using a hose or watering can.
Leaf mould can be spread as mulch on your beds as a soil conditioner or use as a potting compost instead of peat.

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