How to save time on improving soil fertility and improving its characteristics? Everything is simple - in the fall you need to collect all the fallen leaves and lay them in storage. And then in the spring you will get a ready-made composition, which can be immediately put into the ground.
Leaf humus is a universal tool for improving the structure of the soil and its properties. Sheet of humus is laid in the fall, so that by the next season a simple and effective means, in which not a penny has been invested, is obtained.
Fallen leaves, unfortunately, are practically devoid of nutrients, therefore they are unsuitable for fertilizing the soil and saturating it with microelements. But it is impossible to leave them just to rot on the ground - diseases develop in the foliage and pests infest. Therefore, opad is often the basis of leaf humus, which summer residents use for the following purposes:
- soil conditioning - when saturated with humus in the ground, moisture retains longer, especially in the area of the root system, making it easier for plants to tolerate drought;
- in the overwhelmed opade get earthworms. These are the main assistants of gardeners and gardeners. They improve the air and water exchange of the soil;
- leaf humus acidifies the soilthat has a positive effect on the development of fruit trees: apples, plums and pears. Sometimes it is used for indoor plants: hydrangeas, camellias, ferns and rhododendrons;
- rotten substrate used as mulch. Especially well respond to such shelter cucumbers, tomatoes and other vegetable crops.
If you decide to prepare enough substrate, go for a portion of leaves in the forest.
For leaf humus is best to select the litter of deciduous trees. In the first place in the course are the leaves of fruit trees growing on your site. Fit and conifer needles, but remember that they rot longer, and they can only be made in a ground form.
You can also use the leaves of birch, oak, viburnum, hawthorn and mountain ash
Collect the leaves with a fan (if you work among other plants) or ordinary rakes (if you collect litter on the lawn). In the patio area or on other flat surfaces, the leaves are harvested with a vacuum cleaner or broom. On the lawn, you can collect leaves with a lawn mower, the blades of which are adjusted to the maximum height. The advantages of using a vacuum cleaner and lawn mower are that the leaves in them are crushed and fall into sealed containers, from which they are easily poured into bags for further storage.
We offer you a small guide to the leaves, which are used as ingredients for humus:
- leaves of ash, beech, birch, cherry, elm, oak, poplar and willow quickly decompose (they are used without grinding) and contain large amounts of nitrogen and calcium;
- leaves of berry bushes, hawthorn, maple and chestnut decompose slowly (they must be crushed) and contain quite a bit of nitrogen and calcium.
The collected and partially crushed leaves are tightly placed in special structures or containers and tamped. Storage spaces may be:
- self-made cell of 4 wooden pegs covered with a metal grid, dimensions 1x1 m with an open top;
- plastic bag for garden waste;
- special packages for leaf humus
Provide air access in plastic bags, making them literally 3-5 small holes. Pour heavily leaves so as to moisten and remain in this state.
If you add some freshly cut grass to the leaves, they will decompose faster
Sheet substrate can be made in 0.5-2 years after laying. Dates are determined depending on the density of the laying of leaves and tree species. Young humus becomes similar to a homogeneous dark mass with leaf skeletons, small rods and unprocessed remains.
In spring, the substrate is added to the soil before planting in open ground or in flower containers, it is added dropwise under perennial plants, used as mulch, sprinkled holes on the lawn and added to compost. Often, such humus is used for germinating seeds and growing seedlings. And when mixed with garden compost and fine sand or loam, leaf humus turns into a good composition suitable for transplanting indoor plants.
Do not forget to periodically moisturize the overheating leaves.
After 1.5-3 years even the coniferous remains are decomposed, and the humus turns into a dark crumbly soil. This composition is suitable for mulching of acidophilic plants (which are suitable acidic soils): hydrangeas, camellias, azaleas, rhododendron, heather, erica, pieris, etc.
Fallen autumn leaves are used for other purposes:
• If you do not want to burn green mass, scrape it onto an unused piece of land to prevent spring weed growth, as well as weathering and leaching of topsoil. In the spring, transfer the leaves to a compost pile;
• chop the leaves in a garden shredder and add to the compost to vegetable and garden waste;
• move the leaves to the far end of the site, especially if it is located near the forest. In such heaps like to spend winter hedgehogs.
As you can see, even fallen autumn leaves can be used. Of these, you can not get nutritional fertilizer for plants, but you can create a good tool to increase soil fertility.