Don’t throw all those freshly fallen leaves into your green waste cart for curbside pickup. Instead, create a leaf mold compost bin and let nature do the work of recycling those leaves into a nutrient rich soil amendment.

Producing leaf mold compost is easy to do, takes little time, and, except for the cost of a roll of chicken wire and a few stakes, is free.

Step 1: Locate a shady out of the way place to build your leaf mold compost bin.

Step 2: Shape a three (3’) foot by four (4’) foot circular bin from a roll of chicken (or similar type) wire. Overlap the ends of the wire roll and tie them together with twist ties, then evenly space three (3) to five (5) stakes around the bin to hold it firmly in place.

Step 3. Loosely fill the bin with leaves taking care not to compress or pack the leaves too heavily. You want air to circulate in the pile to promote aerobic decomposition.

Step 4. Lightly wet the pile as needed, taking care not to saturate the pile. You want to maintain the moisture of the pile at a level similar to a moist sponge.

Step 5. If you’re feeling ambitious, give the pile a turn once a month.

In just 12 to 24 months you’ll have a fantastic soil amendment that will improve the moisture holding capacity, drought tolerance, and structure of your soil.