Last Updated on June 10, 2020 by MakeThingsReal
Putting leaves to work in your garden helps improve the soil and yard the organic way. Leaves are valuable to the soil because they add nutrients such as phosphorous and potassium to the soil which nourishes it and increases the soil’s microbial life. It also boosts the water-holding capacity of the soil enhancing its growth.
Most people pack their leaves for the garbage disposal truck to haul them away. There are so many reasons why you should put your leaves to work for you in your garden.
Shredding your leaves is a much easier task than bagging them for the garbage truck. One major advantage of shredding your leaves is that it provides you with the perfect material to use in your garden. You can run them over a lawn mower a few times for it to shred them. Once it’s done, scoop them up or dump them out of the mower bag. However, if you do have a lot of leaves to shred, you should consider investing in an electric leaf mulcher. There are tons of them available on retail outlets.
You can read more on Electric Leaf Shredders here.
Shredded leaves can be used to cover your garden beds. Helping it hold moisture, so you don’t have to bother about watering it every time. You’ll also skip the cost and labor of laying mulch all across your garden. For those who have delicate plants that require protection from cold temperatures, insulating them with shredded leaves can offer them the much-needed protection that they require.
If you have a compost bin as well and you require more ingredients for your compost pile, working shredded leaves into your pile will help balance out the nitrogen-rich greens in a pile.
Ways To Use Leaves In Your Garden.
1. Mow them into lawn
Mow the leaves together and add carbon and nitrogen to the soil. This will help reduce the amount of fertilizers that you have to buy later on. A quick way of doing this involves using a mulching mower. Take a bag and mow the chute facing toward the lawn so the clippings can blow on the grass. You can set a reasonable height of about 3 inches for the mower – make another height if you notice that the shredded leaves are still significant. They should not go beyond ¾ inch deep. By winter, they will break down into the soil and disappear by spring.
2. Include them on vegetable beds
Whole or chopped leaves can be incorporated into vegetable beds so they can compose over the winter. Whatever is left of it in spring can be mixed in. However, we advise those don’t want to see leftover leaves in their beds to shred them first to avoid complications in spring. A garbage can and a string trimmer will work well in the place of a shredder. Make sure you have an eye and ear protection on before using the string trimmer.
3. Make Leaf Mold
Leaf mold is simple wet leaves that have decomposed into a rich, black substance that makes it a substitute for fertilizers needed for plants. Pile the leaves in a spot out of the way, wet them so they can rot. This is to make them into soil-like substance perfect mulch for plants. Turn this pile a few times during winter to speed up the process of getting the desired leaf mold needed.
4. Use them as a compost pile
You can also put your leaves to work by leaving them in a composter, or you can stockpile them in garbage bags or piled up for summer. An abundance of succulent green material will add to the mixture in warm weather for your leaves to compost quickly. Don’t neglect the power of carbons in the composting process. You leaves need lots of carbon in the form of dried material.
5. Protect Outdoor Plants
When the weather turns cold, potted plants go dormant, which means they must be brought indoors. You can pick a sheltered zone of your house where you can cluster these pots together and have them lay beneath an overhang. Gather up the leaves and pile them over, under and between the pots. If the area of your house that you choose is windy, you can use chicken wire to corral the pots together so that the leaves won’t be blown away. Make sure the leaves are piled inches deep to cover the pots and plants as much as possible. When this blanket is formed over the potted plants, both plants and pots should be fine all through the summer.
6. Feed your lawn
When you shred your leaves into tiny bits, they get blasted into smithereens soon enough as the mower scatters these little fragments across the lawn. The idea behind this is to prevent them from forming a dense mat on your lawn. Because these shredded leaves are so small, they tend to decompose quickly – feeding the microbes in the soil and eventually feeding your lawn.
7. Build a potato bin
One way of making your leaves useful for your garden is by using it for a potato bin. You build a wireframe, line it with newspaper and fill with organic matter and compost. Use the leaves as a foundation for the bin. By spring, the leaves will the partially decomposed, and you will be able to add more compost to mix it up with for growing your potato bin.
At the end of the day, making your fall leaves work for you will be the best thing you can do. The worst thing is having to burn them. Burning leaves is illegal in some states and for a good reason as well. Burning leaves pollutes the air, and it causes problems for people with breathing problem as well as constitute a fire hazard. Besides, as explained above, there are lots of awesome things you can do with your leaves.
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