Allotment Growing - leaf mould - making your own - building a leaf mould bin - makes a wonderful compost and soil improver for growing beds.
Leaf Mould (or Leaf Mold to our North American readers) is a wonderful - and free - resource for the allotment.
It produces a compost that improves soil structure and - most importantly - water retention - particularly useful for sandy soils - beneficial for all soils. It has few nutrients in it - much less than in green waste compost or from manure - but is nonetheless very good stuff.
Making leaf mould is very simple.
Gather fallen leaves - in Autumn - from your garden - or whatever source is available. I get mine from around the church near my home. Every time I go for a walk round there I take a couple of black plastic bags and fill them up.
The leaves can then be stored and left to rot down. This takes some time - a year or more - depending on the type of leaf. For example - sycamore, beech and horse chestnut leaves will rot down more slowly than alder, hornbeam and oak. Not that this matters a great deal - just gather what is available.
If you have the space - a leaf mould bin is best for storage.
Otherwise - you can store the leaves in black plastic bags. A bit unsightly, but effective - and the bags can always be tucked away in a corner of the allotment plot or garden. Punch a few small air holes - if the leaves are dry - add a bit of water to the bags.
How To Build A Leaf Mould Bin
A leaf mould bin is simple to construct.
It doesn't need to be as sturdy as a compost bin - as - obviously - fallen tree leaves are not particularly heavy (or dense - if you want to be pedantic about semantics).
You need four stakes (wooden or metal), some chicken wire and some garden wire or twine.
Hammer the stakes into the ground in a square of roughly four feet. - or as space allows.
Wrap the chicken wire around the stakes and secure with wire / twine.
Job done - simply pile up the leaves - and keep adding more as long as you can get them.
Leaf Mould - Gallery - click on any image to enlarge