Fall has arrived, and that means it’s time to use those gorgeous falling leaves to help recharge your garden. Collecting leaves each fall has become a ritual for us. It is a simple, inexpensive (actually free), and excellent way to provide valuable organic nutrients to your garden.
And in the fall – leaves are abundant! Even if you don’t have a supply in your own backyard, you usually don’t have to look far to find them free for the taking. Here are 3 great ways to use those falling leaves in your garden this fall:
Turn Those Leaves Into Great Compost
Leaves are the perfect choice for creating a great fall compost pile! And making compost this fall means you will have plenty of “black gold” on hand for planting time next spring!
When composting, remember that some varieties are better than others. Ash, Beech, Maple and the leaves of fruit trees are excellent choices to compost. Oak can be used, but in moderation. The leaf of an Oak tree is more acidic, and too many can result in compost that is less than ideal for your vegetable garden. A good rule of thumb – keep the ratio of oak under 20%, and you should be good to go.
Always be sure to shred your leaves before using in a compost pile. Whole leaves bind together and become a soggy, matted mess. Because of that, they can take months if not years to break down. Shredding first can greatly speed up the entire process from start to finish.
No need to purchase a fancy shredder. A push or riding mower will do an excellent job of shredding leaves into a finely chopped mix. See : 4 Simple Tips To Make Great Leaf Compost
Creating A Cover Crop With Fall’s Bounty
If your garden doesn’t already have a cover crop, then create a natural one with a thick layer of leaves. Just like a planted cover crop, a thick coating can keep your garden soil from being exposed to harsh winter rains, snow and wind. Without protection, that exposure can whisk away the top layer of your valuable top soil.
Covering your garden also helps tremendously in cutting down on the amount of next seasons’ weeds. Covering your garden soil makes it hard for blowing and drifting seeds to find a home. When next spring arrives, you can simply shred them with your mower and incorporate into your soil.
Shred And Store For Next Year
While you are out there collecting – be sure to get enough to use next year as well! Along with the compost bins in the back of our garden, we keep a small storage area just for shredded leaves. That way, we have plenty on hand next year to use as a mulch around young plants, or to create more compost.
So get outside, collect fall’s bounty, and enjoy the beauty of autumn! To receive our Recipes, DIY and Gardening articles each week, sign up to follow the blog via email in the right hand column above, “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. You can also check out our new book, Growing Simple, now available onAmazon.com.
Jim and Mary