Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fall Garden Leaf Mulch

I was out raking leaves today, which are an excellent garden resource.

For composters, fallen leaves are a good source of carbon for the pile, and this is the time of year to stockpile.

You can use the leaves in compost now or save them and use them later next spring, when green compost materials are abundant, but carbon-based ones less so.

Leaves also make wonderful mulching material, adding lots of good organic matter to the soil. I like to pass them over with the mower once or twice. This chops them up a bit, so they break down faster.

I rake the chopped leaves and grass cutting directly into my side beds as a mulch for winter.

Another plus of leaf mulch is that it provides protection and food through the winter for spiders, red wigglers, and other beneficial insects.

One word of caution: if you have any perennials, be sure to keep the mulch an inch or two away from the stem; mulching too close could potentially cause rot there.

Another cool thing to do with leaves is a layer mulch. You basically cover your garden beds with little compost piles for the winter by layering carbon materials and green/nitrogen materials on top of the bed and covering it up with burlap sacks.

In spring, you take off the burlap and have ready-made compost to work into the soil. This type of mulching is a combination of mulching and composting, and is known as Interbay mulch. I did this last year, but this year I planted cover crops unfortunately, no pics of this method at this time.

Leaves really are a wonderful resource for any organic gardener; I'm collecting leaves in my old potato cage:

And last but not least: goodbye halloween pumpkins, back to the compost pile you originally came from.

Happy Pumpkins Love Compost!

1 comment:

  1. It is definitely fall at your house too I see.

    We are surrounded by very old oak trees and the amount of leaves we get is almost ludicrous. I keep saying we are going to start composting and the hubby looks at me like I am a nut. Maybe next year when I know a little more about it.

    talk to you soon,


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