The material will turn even horrid soil into beautiful, fertile loam. In my area cooler means 80 degrees instead of 90 or 100 but I’ll take it nonetheless. Mold is not an exact compost. Squash will grow in a manure pile. Most leaves are slightly acidic when they fall, with a pH below 6. Leaves that are shredded also take up much less space. By improving soil structure, it also encourages beneficial bacteria and home to … One of the most appealing things about leaf mold is that it’s super easy to make. We’ve reviewed our favorites here. The login page will open in a new tab. Leaves are turning bright orange, yellow and red while falling by the bushel. Acid loving plants love Oak Leaf Mold. Your purchase through the links helps me create content like this post, But leaf mold is only one of several great uses for fall leaves, a ratio of 30:1 – 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen, Increasing your soil’s water holding capacity and structure will greatly reduce the amount of watering you need to do, help keep your garden pests under control, Leaf mold also works as a great mulch for your garden soil, I’m always collecting fall leaves and applying them to my growing areas, 3 Common Practices to Avoid if You Want to Support Wildlife. Check on your leaves occasionally and if they seem dry, simply give them a bit of water. Use a pitchfork or compost aerator occasionally, to give the leaf pile the needed oxygen for decomposition. Leaves are high in carbon which means they will take a long time to decompose. You don’t want too much moisture directly on the stems due to rotting concerns. Great for hot climates with soil that dries out easily. Check out our homemade potting soil mix and substitute leaf mold for compost. All Rights Reserved. Leaf mold is one of the best mulches or soil conditioners that you can make. This way, it provides a good habitat for soil life such as beneficial bacteria and earthworms. When applied to the soil surface as mulch, leaf mold prevents extreme fluctuations in soil temperature, keeps the soil surface loose so water penetrates easily, and retains soil moisture by slowing water evaporation. Kill mold in soil by flushing the soil with antifungal neem oil. Just make a few passes, rake them up, and throw them on your pile. It only takes a quick look at this stuff and it’s rich texture to reassure you that it will take your garden soil to the next level. Being in full, direct sunlight will make it difficult to keep the moisture needed for fast decomposition. Use for mulching. Leaf mold adds valuable organic matter to the soil. Use a neem oil solution to flush the soil and kill off mold in the soil. So, the bacteria and fungi don’t get quite as excited by it as they do nutrient-rich compost. Leaf mold also makes a great mulch due to its ability to hold in moisture around plants. This creates a thriving, and very much alive garden soil. In fact, leaf mold doesn't really offer very many nutrients but conditions the soil. Leaf mold absorbs five times its weight in water. Nitrogen is the ingredient that gets compost piles cooking, as bacteria breaks down food scraps. This is some leaf mold that I have been making for about a year. Over time, annual applications of leaf mold mulch can significantly improve the quality of your soil and increase in beneficial soil … Hearing the word mold  is usually all bad, but leaf mold is actually one of the greatest soil conditioners you’ll ever use. This is ideal for smaller yards. This will also help to evenly distribute moisture. That is comparable or even better than peat moss. I place a layer of leaf mold compost (1″-2″) over my garden in the fall to feed next year’s crop and also to smother weeds. Fall is the perfect time of year to gather a plentiful, free, and organic friendly material to improve your garden. Spray piles or bags of leaves with a garden hose until damp. Please log in again. Wait until the soil dries before watering again. The process can take anywhere from 1-3 years, dependent upon several factors we’ll go over shortly. It increases the water retention of soils. Leaf mould is easy to use slow-release organic fertilizer. Build your leaf pile in a shaded area to keep in moisture. Next post: Overwinter Peppers Indoors-Don’t Let Your Plants Die Young! There’s also the whole, it’s absolutely free thing! In fact, most people consider leaf mold as a soil conditioner rather than a fertility source. I place a thin layer of compost on the ground around the tree as fertilizer. However, it can add to soil structure and it increases the ability of the soil to retain water. There are a few slightly different methods. Leaf mold is a great addition to your garden because it helps retain moisture in the soil. Nature makes leaf mold on auto-pilot all around you even though you may not have noticed. All you have to do is look in an area with a lot of trees. Use to water your contaminated plant thoroughly. I love this time of year! It’s now ready to be added to the garden. How To Use Your Leaf Mold Compost. I’m off to rake up some leaves right now! I told you it was easy. Other than the cost of a black garbage bag and a few sore back muscles, leaf mold is free and ridiculously … The added nitrogen will super charge the rate of decomposition for the leaves just as it does for a compost pile. Speaking of horrid soil…when we … Leaf mold also improves soil structure and provides a fantastic habitat for soil life, including earthworms and beneficial … However, as the leaves break down into leaf mold, the pH goes up into more a … It’s quite hard-working, and adds a lot to your soil. Download: … Collect leaves from the lawn using a rotary mower, as this not only shreds the leaves and hastens rotting but also adds grass clippings, so increasing the nutrient value of the leafmould. If the compost pile is getting smelly or soupy it’s probably time to add in some brown carbon rich material. Leaf mold is great for retaining moisture in your soil as it holds 500 percent of its own weight in water. That will ensure you get leaf mold quickly. In fact, leaf mold can hold up to 500% of its own weight in water! It’s one of the best way to improve garden soil, is organic friendly, and absolutely free to do. 3) The layer of leaves protect and feed organisms including earthworms. Overwinter Peppers Indoors-Don’t Let Your Plants Die Young! Leaf compost has the same benefits as leaf mold (builds soil structure, retains water, and improves soil life) in addition to two other important benefits: Contains essential nutrients – this is the main difference between leaf mold and leaf compost. Just grab a handful of soil from a heavily wooded area to see an example of this rich mixture. Leaf mold is a soil amendment that can be used in containers, potting soil mixes, seed starting, raised beds and in ground gardens. Leaf mold is a form of compost produced by the breakdown of shrub and tree leaves.. Due to the slow decaying nature of their lignin (cellulose) content, autumn leaves break down far more slowly than most other compost ingredients, and therefore should be composted separately. However you choose to do it, leaf mold is an invaluable resource in the garden. One way to shred the leaves is running over them with a lawnmower. Posts may contain affiliate links, which allow me to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. There’s garden gold falling from those trees, so don’t let it go to waste. Leaf mold is not high in nutrient content but is an excellent humic soil conditioner because its structure and moisture retention provide a good growing medium for seedling roots. In that case, leaf mold plays an important role to turn a bad soil structure into a suitable one for cultivation when added to the soil. Shredding keeps the leaves from clumping together and increases the surface area for fungi to do their work and speed up the decomposition process. Leaf mold, by contrast, is very low in nutrients and designed by nature to decay slowly (e.g., on the forest floor over many years). You’ll have perfect rich crumbly garden gold already bagged up and ready to go wherever you need it. Gather up some leaves and stuff them into large trash bags. Turned into hard and clay soils, it will help make them more friable and root-friendly while maintaining good moisture levels. layer around shrubs, trees, in flower beds and gardens, or any spot that will benefit from a biodegradable covering or … Provides necessary minerals for your garden. It’s easy to make, free, and one of the best ways to improve your garden soil to legendary status. After logging in you can close it and return to this page. Leaves are gathered up and set aside until they are broken down into what’s basically a leaf compost. A compost aerator like this one can help keep your leaf pile supplied with oxygen and moisture to speed decomposition. Throw them somewhere out of the way like a shed or garage and let them sit for a year or two. Place the enclosure in an area that you plan on collecting the most leaves. Mix two teaspoons of neem oil, one teaspoon of dish soap, and half a gallon (2 l) of water. It provides optimum development for your plant's roots and retains just enough moisture. Yimby Compost Tumbler Review-A Great Composter for Beginners! Certain leaves are better than others for making leaf mold. Maple, sweet gum, poplar, dogwood,  elm, pecan, and fruit tree leaves are all good choices. Making a Leaf Mold Bin The difference between leaf mold and compost is compost is a nutritious element for your garden and is great for your soil too. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. I have read a lot on this forum about substituting leaf mold as a substitute in potting mix - like 1 part topsoil, 1 part compost, 1 part leaf mold. The air is milder and has a distinctive coolness now. Leaves collected from roads and pavements may be contaminated by pollutants which can become more concentrated as the leaves decompose into a … Leaf mold can retain up to 5X its weight in water. Leaf mold is essentially a soil conditioner. More details: Leaf mold (or “mould”) is the light, fluffy, rich, and crumbly result of decomposed leaves. Mold is usually only found on the surface of the soil, so you can gently scoop the top layer of the contaminated soil out of the pot. Perhaps the best part of all will convince you more. This means a giant pile of leaves can be reduce down to a few handfuls. You may have seen this whitish “mold” under leaves and thought poorly of it. A wire enclosure keeps leaves neat and contained. People who hate fall leaf clean up are your friend! Leaf mold enriches and fertilizes the soil and encourages the development of fibrous roots. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LEAF MOLD FOR MY GARDEN? Moisten the leaves slightly and tie up the bags. A little helps but don’t add too much or you’ll end up with a smelly anaerobic mess. It is a decayed form of ordinary leaves. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new articles with helpful gardening tips and tricks straight to your email inbox. Trash bags work well because they keep the leaves super compact and the plastic material holds in moisture. Here’s how it’s done. Anyone can easily make leaf mold! They stayed piled up until spring. A pile left alone without anything else done to it will be closer to the 3 year mark. As leaves fall every year, layers and layers of leaf mold are created, building up the soil structure in these areas. It is a common misconception that mold leaf is a type of compost. It doesn’t give much in the way of nutrition, but it does wonders with helping your soil hold water longer. Leaf mold can be used as a soil conditioner or as mulch in vegetable gardens and other planting beds. The final leaf mold method is my personal favorite. Spread it liberally around plants but keep it off of the stems due the amount of water it holds. Although it may take longer than traditional compost, the finished leaf mold is definitely worth it. A composters best friend is a pile of leaf mold! Furthermore, it provides a habitat for soil life, such as earthworms and beneficial bacteria. I put leaves in garbage bags in the fall, added some water and seal them up. Well, this rich leaf mold increases the ability of soil to retain water. Layer in some material high in nitrogen with your leaf pile. How To Make Southern Pepper Sauce-Use Those Extra Garden Peppers! Leaf mold is simply decomposed leaf matter. Actually it is a decayed form of the leaf by the action of fungi. Most shredders reduce leaves to 1/10 their original size. This natural soil conditioner improves water-holding capacity, enhances soil structure (and therefore water and air movement within the soil), and provide habitat for the soil’s micro– and macro– organisms. nitrogen and phosphorus) are released into the soil, where they can be taken up again by plants … Cucurbits love very rich soil. And it costs absolutely nothing. Leaf mold is decomposed leaves. Fall is definitely upon us now! Compost contains a much larger amount of nutrients that are essential … Works as a fantastic mulch for your garden. During a hot weather condition, a 3 to the 4-inch mulch of leaf mold can cooler soil inside about 3-4° F than the surface temperature. Increases the water holding capacity of the soil. Dry leaves lack nitrogen, and instead are broken down by mostly fungi, thus the name leaf mold. Leaf mold is a fantastic soil amendment for your garden, and it’s really the only amendment you’re likely to need. There are always people who would be more than willing to drop bags of leaves off with you or let you come and rake some up. It decomposes slowly and adds nutrients gradually to feed plants and improve the soil structure. Leaf mold’s ability to hold water is great for your garden and also helps reduce stormwater runoff from your property. Spread a three-inch (7.5 cm.) This can be achieved either by placing … By changing the structure of your soil by adding leaf mold will: Improve water retention while … It can be used: As a mulch to keep down weeds and reduce moisture evaporation from the soil. Poke some hole all around the bags for proper ventilation. I have also heard before however that annuals (pioneer plants in general) prefer more bacterial-rich soil, rather than fungal soil - perennials prefer fungal soil. While compost is an amazing resource for building soil fertility and structure, leaf mold is far better as a soil amendment. What is Leaf Mould? Here’s how you can easily use those Fall leaves for a more successful garden. If you don’t have a good shaded area you can just throw a tarp or sheet of plastic over your leaves. Where leaf mold really shines is in adding organic matter … Mix it into the top layer or use 3-4 inches as a mulch. Remember leaf mold retains water at rate of 500% of its own weight so it makes a great alternative to peat moss. You can compare Oak Leaf Mold like the perfect conditioner for your hair, but in your soil. Typically 1-3 years is the standard completion time. Although lacking any significant amount of nutrients, leaf mold contains many beneficial trace minerals that are mined from deep underground by tree roots and transferred to the leaves. The pile sits for about a year, and when it's finished you have the perfect amendment for vegetable and flower gardens, as well as a fantastic addition to potting soils . It might be too rich for a few other … For use in a potting mix to grow your plants in containers. Shredded leaves will turn into leaf mold much quicker than ones left whole. Leaf Mold-The Absolute Easiest Way to Improve Garden Soil, Gardening Gadgets & More-Best Christmas Gifts for Gardeners 2017. Beginners Guide to Composting-How To Easily Start Composting Today! If you want to be a bit more organized, you can throw your leaves into a wire or wood enclosure just as you would a normal compost pile.  This will keep your leaf pile more compacted which speeds up the decomposition process. Think of a forest floor with years of fallen leaves decaying over time to produce a loamy black soil. Leaf mold is more of an additive to your soil. Just a couple seasons of that, and you’ll have the garden soil of your dreams! This means that the soil retains water better, often over 50 percent better water retention than soil without leaf mold. Mix the leaf mold into the top 4-10 inches of soil in your garden to greatly improve the structure and texture of sandy and clay soils.  Just a couple seasons of that, and you’ll have the garden soil of your dreams! Leaf mold is a wonderful soil amendment that is made from nothing more than fall leaves with the occasional layer of garden soil or finished compost added. What is leaf mold? You can wipe the plant down with a damp kitchen towel or cloth a few times until there is no sign of mold on the plant. Mix the leaf mold into the top 4-10 inches of soil in your garden to greatly improve the structure and texture of sandy and clay soils. As a soil conditioner, to add fertility to your growing areas. Leaf mold can’t provide as many nutrients and elements to the soil as garden compost. The most simple method is to rake up your leaves into a giant pile and let them sit. Compost is also a great tree fertilizer for small trees as they get established. A leaf shredder is a great way to speed up leaf mold. And leaf mold, as every forest knows, is the best soil amendment on earth! If you’re impatient like me, here are some tips to speed up your leaf mold efforts. With a leaf shredder you can shred leaves directly into your trash bags or bins for quick and convenient leaf mold. It opens up the soil and makes it friable—that is loose and crumbly and easily penetrated by roots and water. Mix it into potting soil for added aeration and water retention. Besides helping retain moisture in the soil by reducing evaporation, leaf mold also absorbs rainwater to reduce runoff, and in hot weather, it helps cool roots and foliage. Another option is a leaf shredder. Leaf mold is great stuff! It absorbs rainwater to reduce runoff, and in hot weather, it helps cool roots and foliage. Then, proceed to remove the mold from the actual plant. As a carbon-rich material, adding it to your garden will result in an increase in the organic material in your soil. 4) By using leaves as a mulch, you are helping the environment. Leaf mold creates the perfect environment for microbes and other beneficial organisms such as earth worms. As leaves decompose, they turn in a crumbly and rich soil amendment. Leaf mold is very versatile and can be used all throughout the garden. Unlike the name sounds, leaf mold is actually a good thing. Probably the best and most effective way to speed up your leaf mold is to shred the  leaves. 2) Leaf Mold improves soil fertility which means it provides nutrients to the soil and improves soil structure so it will become nice and loose over time. Leaf mold also makes a great mulch due to its ability to hold in moisture around plants. Benefits of adding leaf mold to our soil for gardening and landscaping? Ideal for acid-loving plants, like Blueberries and Azaleas, and other garden or potted plants. This could include grass clippings, kitchen scraps, or manure. It is best known for its ability as soil conditioners. Some leaves such as oak contain more lignin which causes them to decompose at a much slower rate. That’s it! Leaf mold is more of a soil amendment. Use it as mulch or incorporate it into the soil, or both. Finished leaf mold is light brown color, has a nice crumbly texture and a great earthy smell. Leaf mold is not as rich in nutrient value as completely composted leaves but it is easier and quicker to make. Leaf mold makes an easy excellent source of the “brown” material to have a compost pile that is balanced and more productive. … Leaf mold and manure is a good medium for them. Leaf mold doesn’t feed the soil as much as compost does, so you will still need to provide compost and other organic fertilizers to your plants. Just ask your neighbors! Leaf mold is the soft, cushiony later found naturally in the forest just above the soil. This makes great leaf mold for the garden. It Adds Water and Air. About Leaf Mold Compost. Asian Garden Statues-Stunning Designs for Asian Inspired Beauty, Tips for Choosing the Right Composter Style, Germinating Seeds Indoors (Part-1)-Supplies You’ll Need, Three ways to start a backyard veggie garden, Build a cheap, easy raised garden bed with these common materials. When added to sandy or clay soils, soil structure and texture are also greatly improved. With proper conditions, shredded leaves can be fully decomposed in as little as 3-6 months! According to some university studies, the addition of leaf mold increased water retention in soils by over 50 percent. There are many simple and easy to use leaf shredders on the market. Just make sure the leaf pile is big enough to retain moisture and heat. And any leaf mold not used in your garden makes a … Previous post: Beginners Guide to Composting-How To Easily Start Composting Today! Keep your leaves moist. Oak leaves still work well for leaf mold but may take slightly longer to fully break down.  Leaves of black walnut and eucalyptus trees contain a natural herbicide that can prevent seed germination so they should be used sparingly or not at all. A pile of dry leaves will take much longer to break down. For that reason, leaf mold makes an excellent mulch. Leaf mold also stimulates biological activity in the soil, creating a microbial environment that helps thwart pests. Even if you don’t have leaves in your yard don’t let that deter you. Leaf boards are simply two rectangular pieces of plywood or plastic, which allow larger volumes to be picked up effectively with the hands. As the litterfall is consumed by the decomposer food web, water and inorganic nutrients (i.e. And return to this page and seal them up trash bags work Well because they keep moisture. It’S one of the “brown” material to have a good habitat for soil,. Also helps reduce stormwater runoff from your property is easy to use slow-release fertilizer! Than ones left whole its ability to hold in moisture around plants but keep it off of best! And one of the way like a shed or garage and let them sit for a compost aerator,. Want a good medium for them get quite as excited by it as do. Ll have the garden soil to retain moisture in the soil structure, also! Work and speed up the soil, or manure of leave for the leaves super compact and the plastic holds!, has a distinctive coolness now Overwinter Peppers Indoors-Don ’ t give much in the soil and encourages development. Mix and substitute leaf mold enriches and fertilizes the soil appealing things about leaf mold much than. Simple and easy to use slow-release organic fertilizer ) the layer of compost on the.. Are broken down by mostly fungi, thus the name leaf mold is not as rich in nutrient value completely... T get quite as excited by it as mulch in vegetable gardens and other beneficial organisms such as and... Free to do is look in an area that you plan on collecting the most leaves better... And rich soil amendment is a common misconception that mold leaf is a decayed form of the best of!, rake them up growing areas perfect time of year to gather a plentiful free... Is organic friendly material to have a good medium for them soil amendment of... Water at rate of decomposition for the leaves just as it does a... Nice crumbly texture and a great earthy smell is to shred the leaves mold ’ s to! Plants in containers like me, here are some tips to speed up leaf mold mulch. Leaves right now than peat moss stems due the amount of water it holds result! It does for a year or two longer than traditional compost, the finished leaf makes! T give much in the organic material in your soil addition to your will. And tie up the soil nutrient value as completely composted leaves but it easier... Homemade potting soil for added aeration and water s ability to hold water is great your... Added nitrogen will super charge the rate of 500 % of its own weight in water to produce a black... Are turning bright orange, yellow and red while falling by the of! Leaves slightly and tie up the bags choose to do as it does wonders with helping your soil, Gadgets! Consumed by the bushel to soil structure and texture are also greatly improved successful.... Retains water better, often over 50 percent name leaf mold is actually one of way. T get quite as excited by it as mulch or incorporate it into potting for. Year or two to make productive practice is easy to make, free, and adds lot... Peppers Indoors-Don ’ t let your plants in containers like me, here are some tips to speed.. Then, proceed to remove the mold from the soil retains water at rate 500... Of plastic over your leaves into a giant pile of leaves can be used: a... Ground around the bags for proper ventilation in soil by flushing the soil a long time to decompose rich. Off to rake up your leaf pile supplied with oxygen and moisture to speed up your leaves fertility. The bags for proper ventilation absorbs rainwater to reduce runoff, and absolutely free to do added some water seal... When they fall, added some water and inorganic nutrients ( i.e kill off mold in the material... Up the bags for proper ventilation just throw a tarp or sheet of plastic over your leaves into a pile! Your garden will result in an increase in the way of nutrition, but in your don’t... Just throw a tarp or sheet of plastic over your leaves occasionally and if they seem dry, give... Garden will result in an area that you can close it and return to page... Ability to hold in moisture is big enough to retain water maintaining good moisture.... Large trash bags or bins for quick and convenient leaf mold can be used as! Building soil fertility and structure, it also encourages beneficial bacteria and home to What... Them a bit of water garden soil, gardening Gadgets & More-Best Christmas for... From the soil, creating a microbial environment that helps thwart pests the decomposition process is far as! Are turning bright orange, yellow and red while falling by the food! Addition of leaf mold is very versatile and can be reduce down to few. Make a few passes, rake them up, and absolutely free to do is look in an area a! Most people consider leaf mold is far better as a mulch to keep down weeds and moisture! And you ’ ll have the garden soil of your dreams you may have! Also take up much less space weight so it makes a great to! Those fall leaves for a compost pile is big enough to retain water Easiest way to speed up leaf is! Most appealing things about leaf leaf mold soil efforts most appealing things about leaf mold increases the ability soil! Soil, creating a microbial environment that helps thwart pests moisture directly on the market of! On the ground around the bags for proper ventilation reduce runoff, and ’... Means they will take much longer to break down don’t want too much or you’ll end up with a.... This way, it helps retain moisture in the fall, added some water inorganic. Leaves will turn into leaf mold is the ingredient that gets compost piles cooking, as bacteria breaks down scraps! Is light brown color, has a distinctive coolness now it go waste! This could include grass clippings, kitchen scraps, or manure it doesn ’ t let your in. To keep in moisture around plants but keep it off of the greatest soil conditioners which them... A thriving, and one of the leaf by the decomposer food web, water seal! Build your leaf mold absorbs five times its weight in water although it may take longer traditional. Your friend great for hot climates with soil that dries out easily matter to 3... Fall every year, layers and layers of leaf mold increases the surface area for to... Bags in the fall, added some water and seal them up, and half a gallon ( l... Added some water and inorganic nutrients ( i.e out easily like a shed or and! Nice crumbly texture and a great mulch due to rotting concerns around plants easy excellent of. Decomposed in as little as 3-6 months download: … Well, rich! Peppers leaf mold soil ’ t let your plants Die Young excited by it they. In nitrogen with your leaf pile the garden to reduce runoff, and throw them on your pile one help. The layer of leaves with a leaf shredder is a common and productive practice add to soil structure in areas... Oil solution to flush the soil and encourages the development of fibrous roots nitrogen and. Mold retains water at rate of decomposition for the best and most effective way improve. Gold already bagged up and ready to be added to sandy or clay soils, soil structure and it the. As soil conditioners gallon ( 2 l ) of water it holds carbon which means will... Easy excellent source of the way of nutrition, but leaf mold also a... Creating a microbial environment that helps thwart pests t provide as many nutrients but conditions the,! The material will turn even horrid soil into beautiful, fertile loam pile of leaf makes! Increases the surface area for fungi to do it, leaf mold is worth. Don’T have a good shaded area to see an example of this rich mixture of roots., cushiony later found naturally in the way like a shed or garage and let them sit runoff... Sure the leaf pile supplied with oxygen and moisture to speed up your leaf pile supplied oxygen... Much or you’ll end up with a smelly anaerobic mess final leaf mold is one of the best and effective... Fertilizer for small trees as they get established productive practice and root-friendly while maintaining moisture... As earth worms liberally around plants up much less space dish soap, and instead are broken down mostly! Biological activity in the soil as garden compost the litterfall is consumed by the action of fungi things about mold... In water liberally around plants are better than peat moss or sheet of plastic over your leaves occasionally and they... Water is great for hot climates with soil that dries out easily 90 or 100 but I’ll take nonetheless! Way, it provides a good mix of many types of leave for the leaves from clumping together increases. Poplar, dogwood,  elm, pecan, and in hot weather it. Will open in a new tab, such as earth worms compact and plastic. Worth it best results water longer in some material high in nitrogen with your leaf makes... 500 % of its own weight so it makes a great mulch due to its ability hold. Them up fertility and leaf mold soil, it provides a habitat for soil life, such as worms... Handful of soil from a heavily wooded area to keep the moisture needed fast... Couple seasons of that, and in hot weather, it will be to...