Potting soil (a mixture of humus, clay, and sand) plays an essential role in the garden. It nourishes plants and ensures their growth and health. The easy-to-make leaf soil is very nutritious. It supplements the compost of household green waste and allows the recycling of dead leaves from the garden. It can also be used as a mulch. Find how to make potting soil for indoor plants and hope you can do it yourself.
First step: collect the leaves
The first steps in making a leaf mold are similar to those in preparing compost. Use a garden rake to effectively pick up leaves without picking up stones and scraps of wood and to form a pile. You can also include the twigs in your potting soil, as long as you grind them.
Another method: run the mower over the lawn strewn with leaves to mix the plants. The mixture of grass, leaves, and twigs will give quality soil. It is best to work after a rainy day when the leaves are still wet. You will have less need to water your pile to promote its decomposition.
Be careful, not all leaves are good. Certain tree species are preferred, such as lime, birch, willow, hazel, viburnum, maple, and cherry. Other species, which take longer to decompose, should be avoided, such as oak and walnut leaves, which are rich in tannin.
It is also essential to collect only the healthy leaves free of pests. Composting diseased plants would transmit disease. Do not use the leaves of rose bushes and any leaves of plants that may be infected with late blight.
In case you only picked up the leaves, it is best to grind them before storing them. There are plant chippers for this
Second step: store the crushed leaves
The second step is to store the leaves or the lawn/leaf mixture in a specific place in the garden so that they decompose over time. Place your pile of crushed leaves in a composter or in a silo placed in the shade. Leaving it in the open air without structure is also possible, but the leaves may scatter in high winds.
Make the first layer at least 20 cm thick, then add a little soil, twigs, or crushed wood. This will promote the development of microorganisms which will transform the leaves into humus. Add a second layer of crushed leaves and so on, until the heap is completely exhausted. You can also incorporate by a layer of crushed wood chips, clippings, or clay (in the form of balls) to vary the composition of the soil.
Third step: maintain the leaf soil
Moisture is very important to make good leaf soil, hence the importance of choosing a location in the shade that will dry out less quickly in summer. If the rains are not enough to moisten the heap, you must make sure to water it regularly. Ventilation is also essential. The composter should not be closed if you are using one. Turn the pile regularly.
The following spring, you can add new green waste rich in nitrogen (clippings, nettles, etc.). Regular brewing is necessary. You can supplement your potting soil with compost activators if you find that it is decomposing poorly.
The fourth step on how to make potting soil for indoor plants: use the leaf soil
Between 6 months and 1 year, the leaf soil is considered “half-ripe”. It is then used to mulch ornamental and vegetable plants and to enrich the soil. Integrate it into your flower beds or your vegetable plots. Coarse, it will amend your soil while continuing to decompose.
The leaf mold is “ripe” between 2 and 3 years of decomposition. Fine and very dark, it is useful at all stages of gardening: sowing, transplanting, cuttings… It is also perfect for repotting a plant.
The amount to use depends on the type of plantation. Count for example: – between 1 and 3 kg per m² for fruit trees, flowering plants, undergrowth shrubs, or certain vegetables from the kitchen garden (beetroot, carrot, beans, peas, etc.); – between 3 to 5 kg per m² for certain gourmet vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, spinach, potato, pumpkin, etc.) or for small fruits.