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A Recipe for 'Black Gold'

99 comments


What’s that? Read on and find out!

N.B. if you are an experienced gardener, you may wish to ignore this blog!

INGREDIENTS FOR A SEASONAL RECIPE

1. Leaves.

You can’t really have missed the leaves blowing about your garden today!

What kind of leaves do you need for best results? Not evergreen ones, that’s for sure! Look around on the ground and use whatever you have! Try softer leaves, like birch, beech, poplar or these nice big ones from my vine.

2. Water

Well, that’s easy to find…

3. Container

The easiest and quickest container is a black bin bag. However, those of you with more space/leaves/DIY skills may want to build an enclosure from posts and chicken wire – with a piece of old carpet on the top to keep the leaves damp and warm.

4. A sharp object

The safest object to use is scissors, but you could use anything that will make holes in the bag.

Method

1. Rake up a bagful of leaves.

2. Pour water in the top.

3. Tie the bag up – either with string, (optional) or just using the top edges of the bag…

4. Use your chosen sharp object to make a number of holes in the bag. This part is very satisfying, as you can get all your frustrations out of the way!

5. Park the bag in a corner somewhere. Don’t forget where, though!

6. Add the secret ingredient – PATIENCE!

Your ‘Black Gold’ may take up to a year or more to brew – you can speed it up a little by running the lawn mower over the leaves to chop them up a bit, and by remembering to shake the bag occasionally to let some air in.

Don’t forget to add more water every month or so!

What next?

1. Repeat the process until you run out of leaves/bags/space.

2. After a loonnnggg time, your ‘Black Gold’
aka leaf mould will be ready for use.

I’ve used all mine – except this tiny amount!

What’s it for? Why go to all this trouble?

Well, think of it as a soil conditioner. It will help your soil to retain its moisture, texture and… worms love it!

Final note to GOY members – sorry if this is ‘teach grandma to suck eggs’ – but I hope that some new gardeners might find it helpful!

Spritz.

More blog posts by spritzhenry

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Comments

 

Lol Spritz...it's a great blog, and a good reminder to us all. Will be filling my bin liners tomorrow....:)

3 Oct, 2009

 

I never knew how to do this and was to embarressed to ask. Thanks Spritz. :~))

3 Oct, 2009

 

Too right we do Spritz! I didn't know about leaf mould...well I did but not how to make it! I might have a bit of space behind the shed for a few bagfuls...! Thank you!

3 Oct, 2009

 

Well, a BIG THANK YOU Barbara for spelling this out to us. For years I've read and watched bits on gardening programmes telling us to do this but none of them give all the detail which is essential for success. Maybe now I shall actually achieve good compost this way, I shall certainly have a go as my compost bin is already full. :o)

3 Oct, 2009

 

You've done exactly what I used to do when I had a large garden - problem was always where to stack the bags, cos I'd have about 20. I found it took two years to turn into "black gold", and that a whole, stuffed bag rotted down to about 6 inches in the bottom. Lovely stuff though. I only used to water mine when I filled the bag if they were dry, and never bothered to go back and water them again, just left them alone, though.

3 Oct, 2009

 

I usually have 4 or 5 bags at different stages of decomposition,on a sort of rotation.Moving the older bags towards the front ready to use,lovely stuff ! I leave mine by the water butts at the side of the house.
Don't ask us not to read your blogs Spritz,you know we'll just ignore you lol !
As you say with the wind we've had today it's felt very autumnal with all those leaves blowing around. A shame to let them go to waste :)

3 Oct, 2009

 

well barbara its all new to me and now i have thrown all my leaves away lol could you not have put this up last week heheh i will remember this thanx :o)

3 Oct, 2009

 

Surely there'll be more, Sanbaz, full leaf drop hasn't really started yet, well here in London, anyway. No ankle deep kicking yet here!

3 Oct, 2009

 

ive filled my wheely twice with mine not many left to fall bamboo, this is blackpool you know lol

3 Oct, 2009

 

Oh right, must be colder up there then, I guess;-)

3 Oct, 2009

 

normally it is bamboo and soooo windy and cold now :o(

3 Oct, 2009

 

A smashing blog Spritz..."weather" (sorry) seasoned gardeners or not....I've just used my last batch of "Black Gold" and after today's gales......I must just have some fuel for my black bin liners......lol

3 Oct, 2009

 

We may have had an Indian Summer but the trees shed their leaves on time. It always fascinates me how woodland produces such lush growth year on year without someone applying 'Miracle grow' The natural miracle is that the leaves that fall are just what the trees need. Modern farming has paid the price of taking out more than what's put in. I now shred/compost everything I can to mulch and scrounge as many leaves as I can and do as Spritz has demonstrated so well.

3 Oct, 2009

 

Thank you all for the lovely comments - I did NOT want to patronise people - so I added the comment to those who know how to make leaf mould already!

3 Oct, 2009

 

i dont think you did anyway barbara, im sure there are plenty who will be glad of your addvice like me, i had no idea :o)

3 Oct, 2009

 

gotta wait here, Spritz - our trees are more or less still in full leaf - just a few dropping so far.

3 Oct, 2009

 

I've learnt something from you Spritz, yet again, thank you.
I still have lots of leaves so here goes ....

3 Oct, 2009

 

You're welcome, Dawn. :-))

Sandra - have your neighbours all cleared up their leaves? It really would be worth going round and raking up a bag or two! Just a thought.

3 Oct, 2009

 

Thank you for the detailed blog of leaf mould, it was kind of you to share you knowledge with us all.

3 Oct, 2009

 

I wrote it because I'm starting mine off at the moment, Morgana, and I know that there are some new gardeners on the site. :-)

3 Oct, 2009

 

Hope you get lots :o))) I know if it helps that comfrey helps rot down compost bins quicker, don't know if it would help leaf mould too.

3 Oct, 2009

 

Probably not, Morgana - the process is slightly different for leaves, which is why its best to compost them in this way, separately from everything else.

3 Oct, 2009

 

Thank you for that Bamboo as I get millions of leaves from the grave yard next door, I did get leaf mould one year I chopped the elders down and left them on the floor in the garden at the top and the following spring there were just the branches to collect and bin all the leaves had turned to leaf mould so I swept it all into a pile and used it in my strawberry pots .

3 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks spritz I have some free heavy duty black bags that will do the trick.

3 Oct, 2009

 

will ask my neighbour barbara, good idea :o)

3 Oct, 2009

 

You are right Barbara,its worth the effort collecting the leaves.I have done it for years and it really is 'Black Gold'.Wonderful stuff........I know people to have collected from the roadside as they know how good it is.

3 Oct, 2009

 

This is a great blog and so useful for new gardeners.

My mother used to go into the woods collecting leaves, she did it every year for years on end !!!

4 Oct, 2009

 

Thanks for the reminder. I haven't been doing this since living up here. I'll have to start doing it again - this autumn .

4 Oct, 2009

 

O/H's Dad lives in one of those roads that is lined with trees on both sides. What a good thing we bought him a leaf blower/sucker last year (smile)

4 Oct, 2009

 

I used to use the black bags for leaves and found it really successful, now OH has built me a leaf container

4 Oct, 2009

 

I didn't know you could do this, so thank you. All my leaves go in my green bag at this time of the year, but this idea much better!

4 Oct, 2009

 

That is exactly what I`ve been doing today Spritz and I really enjoyed it.........

4 Oct, 2009

 

I use to do it at my other house, but dont get many at all in this garden, mind you most of the trees here are evergreen.

4 Oct, 2009

 

Any neighbours with trees, Carol??

4 Oct, 2009

 

Heron,leaf blower/sucker is just the thing because they work better cut up.Your Dad will have a great time......Don't think I will ask my Dad hes 94!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4 Oct, 2009

 

This is how Geoff Hamilton told us to do it - with one little difference! He said using urine instead of water made it work much quicker. All right so long as you can stack the bags well away from the house, lol.

5 Oct, 2009

 

Ah-ha....As it's recommended to 'wee' into the compost bin, I'm not surprised to hear that - but I don't think I shall take up the idea...thank you!

5 Oct, 2009

 

And if anyone really wants to know, the first one in the morning is the one to use - much higher in nitrogen than the rest of the day:o)

5 Oct, 2009

 

Too much information, if we carry on with this, Bamboo.....LOL.

5 Oct, 2009

 

Its okay, I wasn't going any further... just an interesting fact, I thought!

5 Oct, 2009

 

Much easier to get the men to do it!

5 Oct, 2009

 

Before we got our tree cut down i tried this Spritz, i had quite a few bagfulls and put them in the back garden out of sight, i kept checking and they were breaking down lovely, they were there about 9/12months untill i came in from work one day and hub announced he had a good clear out and took loads of rubbish including those black bags that had been there for ages to the tip!!!!!! I could of KILLED him hahahaha...

5 Oct, 2009

 

oh nooooo Dee, men doh! dont they think to ask lol

5 Oct, 2009

 

Yikes! I can believe it - mine saw my bags last year and asked were they any use!!!!!!!! Duh!

Thanks, Bamboo - it was - but the area is a loooonnngg way from the house!! I had a little chuckle thinking of sending husband over there every morning! hahaha.

5 Oct, 2009

 

lol spritz, apparently its even better if theyv'e had a few beers :))

5 Oct, 2009

 

WHAT??? First thing in the morning? I wouldn't let him! lol.

5 Oct, 2009

 

lol barbara, must remeber this for baz heheeh

5 Oct, 2009

 

That is about the best information I have read in a long time. With all the pictures and comments even I can follow. I get tons of leaves in my patios and gardens. Last year I bought on of these leave blowers/shredders (quite expensive) pretty good but much too heavy for me to use even though I bought a wheel to attach to the front of it. I am only a little 8 stone thingy so your information is a God send. I shall sweep the leaves and do as you do and I do have some patience at least in the garden So Thank you a lot.

7 Oct, 2009

 

You're welcome, Titchy - your comment alone has made writing the blog worth-while, even without the other lovely comments above! :-))

7 Oct, 2009

 

Great advice - I was looking for help with what to do with all the leaves from the oak tree. Thanks

7 Oct, 2009

 

I'm so glad this blog has helped so many members!! :-))

7 Oct, 2009

 

In the words of the incomparable Manuel, "I know nothing!". Great advice, thanks, Spritz! I'll have to go to the woods & collect leaves on my river walk! Time for an Autumn check anyway! Can I add leaves to my compost bin? It's only half-full!

8 Oct, 2009

 

Yes, but only in thin layers - or they tend to go 'soggy' and not rot down well. They don't add nutrients to the compost, either - just added bulk.

8 Oct, 2009

 

Ok, ta! I'll just bag them once I've filled a 'house' for Iggle Piggle & Hetty!

8 Oct, 2009

 

Sounds good...You can never have too much leaf-mould - I wish I'd made more last year!

8 Oct, 2009

 

I've never tried it (deliberately) but used to get it from our hen field (well mixed with chicken & pony manure) he spring, & put it in the compost bins when I was a kid. We had great veggies & fruit!

8 Oct, 2009

 

Just in case anyone wants to know, my dad used to say the best leafmould was from oak leaves, but I never had any, so just used anything I could get.

8 Oct, 2009

 

I read in a magazine (Garden Answers) today that oak and beech were the best, as they produce more 'lignins' but take longer to rot down. Horse chestnut and sycamore are not as good, as the stems don't rot well.

Please do NOT ask me what 'lignins' are - I haven't had time to find out!

8 Oct, 2009

 

Just checked it in Dictionary .com!
lig⋅nin  /ˈlɪgnɪn/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [lig-nin] Show IPA
Use lignins in a Sentence
See web results for lignins
See images of lignins
–noun 1. Botany. an organic substance that, with cellulose, forms the chief part of woody tissue.
2. Papermaking. impure matter found in wood pulp.

Any the wiser??? I'm not! Lol!

8 Oct, 2009

 

To be honest, NO!!
Thanks for the definition, though, Marie. :-)

8 Oct, 2009

 

LOL! I looked it up, thought "EH????" & just cut & pasted it! I'm still clueless!

8 Oct, 2009

 

I thought you were at Uni?? LOL.

8 Oct, 2009

 

AND????

8 Oct, 2009

 

You're doing better than me, madperth, I can't even manage the cut and paste thing on here, never mind understand what you cut and pasted (shush, don't tell anyone!);-)

8 Oct, 2009

 

(Sssh! I wont!) LOL!Just cos I'm at uni doesnt mean I understand botanical words, Spritz!
I'm doing a module called Making Sense! Some hope!!!!

8 Oct, 2009

 

I think that's HILARIOUS, Marie! Hit them with this and ask your tutor what it means! LOL........LOL.............

8 Oct, 2009

 

Hee hee!
It's Making Sense of Community Learning & Development, which is even worse!
I could ask at the Uni Botanics! :~)) They SHOULD know!
Mind you, the people they paid to help us find our way around Uni in Freshers week didnt even know where it was!

8 Oct, 2009

 

The title of your course on making sense doesn't make sense, Marie! LMSO!!!!!!!

This all HAS to be a joke! They didn't know where things were?? Oh dear - stop making me laugh, please! LOL.......

8 Oct, 2009

 

Totally true, I promise!
Thats the clearest module title (& shortest!)
As for the Botanical Gardens..............I found it myself when I got the slow bus home!
The place is full of chocolate fireguards!

8 Oct, 2009

 

WHAT??????????????????????????????????????????

8 Oct, 2009

 

I bet the people who guided you round the Uni knew where the bar was...

8 Oct, 2009

 

LMAO!!! Chocolate fireguards! Sweet but useless!
Yes indeed, Bamboo, they knew where the bar was!
:~))

8 Oct, 2009

 

I am sitting here in total disbelief, Marie! Why were they asked to be guides, if they didn't know where anything was??

Chocolate fireguards?? Errrr.......why??

8 Oct, 2009

 

Sweet but useless!
What use would a chocolate fireguard be??

Its my phrase for somebody who serves no useful purpose!
I usually say, "he's as much use as a chocolate firguard!"

8 Oct, 2009

 

And another variation - chocolate teapot, Spritz. But my favourite is my brother in laws "brains of a rocking horse..."

8 Oct, 2009

 

I like that one!! Brilliant!
My dad tells one of my brothers that if brains were dynamite he wouldnt be able to blow his nose!

8 Oct, 2009

 

lol;-))

8 Oct, 2009

 

Goodnight! I've got a class in the morning See you all soon!

8 Oct, 2009

 

I knew about the chocolate teapot, Bamboo - but 'rocking horse brains' is a new one on me! lol. How about 'butterfly brain'?? Similar?

9 Oct, 2009

 

As much use as rocking horse poo on the garden. good job it's rare!

9 Oct, 2009

 

LOL.

9 Oct, 2009

 

Not sure, Spritz - butterfly I use to mean someone who never finishes anything, flits from one thing to another, verbally or physically, usually an "ideas" person. Whereas brains of a rocking horse, obviously, means thick as a plank... My brother in law is very funny - when I once said I was going to give someone a piece of my mind, he responded immediately with "I shouldn't give them too much, there won't be enough left..."

9 Oct, 2009

 

THAT'S funny? I think I'd have thumped him!!

9 Oct, 2009

 

I laughed till I cried, not insulted at all - he knows, and I know, it's not true.

9 Oct, 2009

 

I thought it was funny Spritz :-))
I like his sense of humour, Bamboo !

9 Oct, 2009

 

So do I, no one has ever made me laugh like him, before or since. He's got a fantastic tale about going into an electrical shop and creating chaos, inadvertently, not intentionally, by getting a satellite dish caught on his jacket, staggering about, smashing stuff and ending up in the window display surrounded by broken electrical equipment. It could only happen to him...

9 Oct, 2009

 

Oh dear! Ooops! He does sound like a 'character', Bamboo! Maybe he'd 'grow on me'...LOL.

9 Oct, 2009

 

Maybe Spritz, or maybe not, he's such a strong character so he's a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it.

9 Oct, 2009

 

Well, I love marmite.........lol. That remark (taken out of context, admittedly!) would have annoyed me! But, I concede, you know him, and you laughed, so that's OK!!! :-))

10 Oct, 2009

 

I think it depends how you feel about yourself, Spritz - over the years, I was left in no doubt that I'd got a good brain, by and large (except for numbers), so any remark like that would simply be funny since it had no truth in it. Now, if I said it to a certain friend of mine, it would be insulting.... I love her to bits, but she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer - she has other characteristics that are lovely.

10 Oct, 2009

 

Yes, you're right. If I said it to my brainy daughter, it wouldn't be insulting at all! Now there are other people I know that I couldn't say it to!! LOL.

10 Oct, 2009

 

Good blog thanks ! my fav old saying is " if you were twice as clever as you are , you'd still be a half wit!"

20 Oct, 2009

 

Hmmm...some people wouldn't even 'get' that, Indy!!! LOL. Glad you liked the blog, though. :-)

20 Oct, 2009

 

Theyre the ones you tell it too Spitz!

20 Oct, 2009

 

Haha - I might try it, then! :-D

20 Oct, 2009

 

I have been filling my weelie bin as fast as it is emptied to get rid but still have piles and piles of leaves so thanks to you I will start this weekend doing what you explained so well. I could do with your step by step guide to lots of things as I stumble my way through each process but I am learing on the way. My compost bin has been full and now has reduced down (1 year on) but when I open it it is still all the bits I put in should I add water to that?

23 Oct, 2009

 

Make sure that you keep a balance of material that goes in. The key is mixing them together - the bin needs air, as well as some water. If it's too dry, it won't rot down - if too wet, you get a soggy mess! Can you turn the compost in the bin, to mix it up?

Leaves are much better rotted down separately, or in a VERY thin layer in the bin, mixed with torn up/shredded paper/cardboard and annual weeds.

You could empty the whole lot onto a tarpaulin, remove the bottom part which should be usable compost after a year, and put the top layer back in the bottom of the bin - that's what we do, on occasion.

Hard work - but worth it! Good luck. :-)

23 Oct, 2009

 

Agree with Spritz - if you have lots of leaves, compost them separately, as recommended in this blog.

23 Oct, 2009

 

Glad you didn't disagree, Bamboo! ;-))

23 Oct, 2009

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