The Q&A Archives: Substitute for Composted Leaf Mold

Question: I have a "menu" for fertilizer that is 1 part each of blood meal and bone meal, 3 parts of wood ash and four parts of composted leaf mold. I have no composted leaf mold and won't be able to make any in time for this year's planting. What can I substitute for that part?

Answer: In a sense it would depend on what the intended final analysis of the combination is supposed to be. Blood meal contains (as a percentage composition) 15.0 Nitrogen, 1.3 Phosphorus and .7 Potash; bone meal contains 4.0 Nitrogen, 21.0 Potash, and .20 Potash; wood ashes contain 0 Nitrogen, 1.5 Phosphorus and 7.0 Potash. Some sample results for leaves would show Oak Leaves containing .8 Nitrogen, .35 Phosphorus and .15 Potash and Peach Leaves containing .90 Nitrogen, .15 Phosphorus and .60 Potash. You could simply find alternative sources to supply these nutrients in proportion. However, in addition to these primary three, leaves contain many additional minerals as well as provide a good supply of fibrous organic material so I suspect any type of composted material would fit the bill, particularly given the variability of analysis between leaf types.

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