Notes from the Garden
Fall, what a wonderful time to enjoy all the beautiful shades of color trees display. As the days pass by though, the leaves that were once so magnificent, begin to fade. Then, one by one they fall from their branches, blanketing our yards in an array of orange, red, yellow, and every color in between.
This year, instead of bagging your overflowing piles of leaves and setting them out for the garbage man to collect on the side of the road, use them to create leaf mulch!
Using your own leaves as mulch is a way for you to put all of the nutrients and energy leaves built up over the prior months back into your garden. If we look to mother nature as our guide for the natural way of caring for our garden, we’ll see that this is the way your garden would want things. Another key benefit is that you’ll know the history of your mulch and the products that have been used in your garden. Whereas you won’t know where mulch at the garden center came from or the products that were used before it was turned into mulch. Your leaves are free and can save you money on the mulch you would normally purchase.
First, you’ll need to turn your leaves into mulch. You can’t rake whole leaves into your garden beds or leave them strewn about your lawn. See the steps below for how to create leaf mulch and apply it in your garden.
Steps to Make Leaf Mulch:
1. Create piles of leaves (6-8 inches thick) near your garden beds
2. Chop them up by running a mower over them (on the mulch setting)
3. Then use a leaf blower to move the chopped up leaves into your beds
Don’t worry if you can’t get every piece of leaf mulch into your beds because it’s great for your lawn too. If you can’t complete each step at one time, you can always come back to your leaves the next day. It’s important to do these steps when your leaves are dry and keep in mind you want to wait until the right time. You can’t create leaf mulch too early in the season while your leaves are still green or too late in the season when your leaves have already begun to rot.
Benefits to your Soil:
- Adds nutrients, including phosphorous and potassium
- Increases the soil’s microbial life
- Boosts its water-holding capacity
- Improves its structure, known as tilth
Not to mention leaves are free! Hauling away leaves is like throwing away bags and bags of money. Leaves hold perfectly good nutrients that will break down and fertilize your garden. This is a great way to put your garden to bed before winter.
So this fall, skip the bags and put your leaves to work. You won’t regret it! If you need help call a Purple Polo at 402-457-6492. We’d love to help you use your leaves as mulch this year!
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