For some Autumn leaves are a nuisance - although you get a free workout raking them up.

Leaf mould, however, helps make your soil productive - it opens up claggy clay soil, holds on to moisture on free-draining chalk and sand. Becomes 'lovely crumbly black gold'.

It is what is naturally found in woodlands 'and plants love it'.

How to make a bin

Bins for leaves need to be more open than for other compost, with lots of air circulation.

We made ours from four similar pallets, not dismantled, with some plastic netting to keep the leaves in - and a natty hinge - because we can.

We also made some from the pallet bins that landscaping material are delivered in - lined with mesh.

Now we have four bins, we are looking forward to leafdrop 2016!

What to do afterwards

If it gets very dry, give it a water. Leave for a year or two.

If you don't have space or inclination for a bin...

Tipping partly-rotted leaves out into the new bin

Tipping partly-rotted leaves out into the new bin

If you don't have room for a bin, gather the leaves in plastic bags with some holes punched into them. Place them in a shady corner and let them rot down. They reduce in volume dramatically. You can also buy loose hessian bags, which look much nicer.

How to use it

Use as a mulch on beds (or dig it in). Use instead of peat in potting compost mixes. We used it for bulb planting with some soil and some soil conditioner (from Amey Cespa at Waterbeach).

Last updated: 1 February 2017