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Instead of getting annoyed about the falling leaves in autumn, one should consider the positive properties of this biomass. Because from this you can gain valuable humus, which benefits your own garden again. In contrast to the garden compost from different green waste, pure foliage compost can also be used well for soil loosening, as it can easily be worked into the soil. This is to be recommended, for example, in the planting of shadow beds, as forest and forest edge plants on leafy soil grow best.
But not all leaves can be composted well: In contrast to the leaves of linden, willow and fruit trees oak leaves contain much tannic acid and decompose significantly slower. The rotting process can be spurred on by crushing these leaves before composting with the mower or knife chopper and mixing them with nitrogen-containing grass clippings or horn shavings. A composting accelerator also stimulates the activity of the microorganisms. If you want pure foliage compost, you can make a simple basket of wickerwork with little effort. It also serves as a collection and compost container. We will explain how you do this with the help of the following picture series.
Step by step to the basket of wickerwork
First, the required amount of wire mesh is unrolled. This is best done in pairs, because the square wire is very unruly
For the foliage basket you need stable wire mesh from the hardware store. We recommend rectangular wire with a mesh width of about 10 millimeters as a roll. The width of the roll determines the later height of the leaf basket. It should be so high that on the one hand it has a large capacity, but on the other hand it can still be conveniently filled. 120 to 130 centimeters are a good compromise. The required length of the wire mesh web depends on the diameter of the leaf basket. We recommend depending on the available space a diameter of at least one meter, better still a little more. The larger the diameter, the more stable the basket is and, when filled, also withstand a strong gust of wind.
Use the following formula to figure out how long the wire should be for the desired diameter: multiply 6.28 by half of the desired diameter in centimeters and add about 10 inches for the overlap. For a basket with a diameter of 120 centimeters you need a piece about 390 centimeters long. When you unwind the wire, it is initially somewhat unruly. So lay it flat on the ground with the curvature down and kick it hard all over.
Separate a piece of wire mesh (left) and form a ring (right)
Now use a side cutter to separate the required piece of wire mesh from the roll. Cut as close as possible along the cross wire to prevent any sharp wire ends from being injured. The cut wire web is then erected in pairs and folded into a ring. The beginning and the end should overlap by about ten centimeters. Temporarily secure the ring with binding wire at a few places along the overlap.
The foliage basket is now only wired (left) and is then ready for use (right)
Now, at the beginning and at the end of the overlap, weave a binding wire from top to bottom through the stitches. In doing so, use the wire in each stitch to wrap the longitudinal wires of the top and bottom layers so that the connection is as stable as possible. Then place the basket in a slightly shaded, shady spot, preferably under a treetop. Now you can fill it in layers with the accruing autumn leaves. It transforms into roughly decomposed foliage compost within one year, which is ideal for soil improvement.