Although most of the country is in the middle of winter, there are still some southern areas that are dealing with raking leaves. Unfortunately, I was not able to get outside much during the fall, so my leaf-raking duties have gotten very behind. I would like to tell you what I do with my fallen leaves, and how I apply them to my garden space.
Mow Your Leaves, Don’t Rake
Many people have different methods of tackling their fallen leaves, but I like to mow my leaves using a mulching blade on the lawnmower. I also use the bag attachment to catch all the mower discharge, or as I sometimes say, the mower goodies.
Once the mower bag gets full, I dump the contents into my garden space – roughly spreading it out as I go. When I have finished mowing the whole yard, I then come back and and mow over the leaves that I placed in the garden again. This will help to chop up the leaves a bit more finer.
At this time, I dump the bag contents back into the garden again, and try to spread it out as evenly as possible. By now my garden has a nice layer of chopped up fallen leaves and grass clippings.
Soak It Down
I take a water hose and spray the area down, making sure to thoroughly soak the leaves. Wetting the leaves will help to speed up the decomposition, and keep them from blowing away in case the wind picks up. Now I just let the mulched-up leaves sit and “ferment” for a while – usually about a month.
At this point the leaves are beginning to decompose, and adding valuable nutrients to the garden soil. When it gets closer to Spring (and planting time), I will use a garden fork to gently loosen the soil, and mix in the decomposing leaves.
Adding your fallen leaves can add beneficial microbes to your soil, and give those handy earthworms a nice treat when they become active in the spring.
So the next time you start bagging up those fall leaves, try adding some to your garden for an extra garden soil boost come Spring.
Cons To Spreading Leaves In The Garden
Some gardeners do not approve of walking on your garden soil because it compacts the soil. Compacting the soil makes the soil more difficult to work, and also makes it more difficult for plant roots to grow. I wouldn’t recommend holding a game of flag football in your garden space, but just a little walking shouldn’t do too much damage. Just try to limit as much walking on it as possible.