Creative Ways To Re-Use Leaves This Fall
It is inevitable. Once we are done enjoying the brilliant colors of autumn, the leaves are going to come down. We do not call this season “fall” for nothing. It you have a lot of trees, “fall” can be an understatement. More like avalanche. Instead of simply raking them to the curb for your municipality to pick up, why not put the leaves to good use back in the garden?
The first step, of course, is to rake and gather the leaves. Here are some options on what to do with the leaves after.
Composting the leave is the most obvious answer. Building a compost bin is a simple project and one can be built in a weekend. Compost requires a mixture of “brown” ingredients and “green” ingredients. Leaves are a very good “brown” component. Be sure to mix in plenty of grass clipping and other “green” garden debris throughout the season to help your compost decompose faster. Turn the compost often to keep it cooking.
Create Leaf Mold
Creating leaf mold is simply the process of leaving the leaves where they fall. This works well if you have large natural areas or treed areas. The leaves will naturally decompose and improve the soil in these areas. Leaves do not offer a lot of nutrients but they do improve the soil as well as the water holding capacity. Decomposing leaves also attract and create a home for beneficial organisms.
Leaves are nature’s mulch. It is important to shred the leaves by running a lawn mower over them a few times. By shredding them first, air and water will still be able to easily pass through them to get to the roots system. Next, simply spread the shredded leaves on your gardens and around your plants. Hose the leaf mulch down after you spread them to help keep them from blowing away.
Insulate Sensitive Plants
Using leaves is a good way to protect sensitive plants. Putting leaves around the plant, perhaps in a wire cage, will keep them a few degrees warmer than without and may be the difference in saving a plant versus losing a plant.
Feed The Lawn
Rather than rake leaves off of a lawn, run a lawn mower over it a few times. Of course, be careful not to smother the grass so make sure they are shredded really well. The benefits of this is that what nutrients are in the leaves will benefit your lawn, and it is a lot less work.
Amend Garden Soils
One can never have enough soil amendments in the garden. Shred the leaves and mix them right into the soil. They will break down over winter improving the soils moisture retaining ability, create a better environment for beneficial organisms and add some nutrients in at the same time. Let nature do the hard work!
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