When the seasons change and the neighborhood trees begin to drop their leaves, take note. Those leaves are a great resource for your garden. Use fall leaves for mulch and more!
For years we lived in a rural area that meant a longish drive on a country road to get home.
In the autumn, one resident on this winding country road – a stranger to us – seemed almost to wait for fall leaves.
As soon as the oak leaves started dropping, the homeowner started raking. And piling. And burning.
The damp leaves would sometimes smolder for days, filling our canyon with a smoky haze.
At the time, I didn’t stop to introduce myself or suggest alternatives; I just grumbled as I drove by. Shame on me.
Stop the madness!
While those leaves were burning just down the road, I was doing my best to gather up as many fall leaves as I could. Fallen leaves are a terrific resource for gardeners.
If you’ve got fall leaves beginning to drop don’t view them as a nuisance to get rid of as quickly as possible. Look at them as an asset falling from above.
You can use leaves for mulch and add them to your compost, but even if you don’t plan to use them, don’t let them go to waste.
Rake them, pile them, and jump in them.
The original bounce house, made by Mother Nature.
Bonus: Jumping on the pile helps to break down the leaves for mulch and using otherwise in the garden.
Fall leaves for mulch.
In the fall, while my neighbor down the road was smoking up the joint, I piled leaves 6-12″ deep around the base of my raspberries. Sure, a few blew away.
But come springtime, those leaves had completely broken down. And the soil around the base of each plant was soft and rich and weed free.
Using leaves for mulch enriches the soil and holds down weeds.
Feed your worms.
Depending on the size of your vermicomposter, this won’t take care of a yard full of leaves, but the worms will absolutely go to town on what you offer.
If you don’t have a garden space that would benefit from mulch, you can add them to your regular compost pile or create a big leaf pile and let it sit over the long winter months.
By springtime, you’ll have a great addition to your garden.
To prevent leaves from blowing away, cover with a tarp tacked down at the edges with rocks or bricks.
Don’t want to use plastic? You can use an old cotton sheet. (Just be aware that it will start to decompose.)
No need to plant anything in it; just get it started. Come springtime you’ll have a beautiful bed in which to plant veggies.
Phone a friend.
If you just don’t have space to keep the leaves while they get busy composting, start asking around.
Put them in biodegradable leaf bags and deliver them to your favorite gardener. I promise: He or she will be thrilled.
If all else fails, use biodegradable bags and send them to your county green waste facility if you have one.