Horticultural aide memoire

No.44: Make leafmould

When all the autumn leaves have fallen (they make lovely patterns on lawns), rake them into piles. Collect them up, ideally with a pair of boards, and fill barrowloads. They squash down quite nicely. If the resulting volume is small, put the leaves in with the compost, but if you have large quantities, stack them, ideally in rectangular bins filled evenly. Pack the leaves down and cover.

It takes time, but the resulting dark material can be quite beautiful: open-textured, even, light, and a joy merely to handle. It is the shrub mulch of champions. Oak and beech are best.