Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall: It's All About the Leaves

Where to pile the leaves, how to gather them up and what to do with them. Don't just bag them and throw them in the trash.

I  like to  (Or I should say my neighbor with the lawn mower does it for me)pile them up and go over them with a lawn mower to shred them for storage as compost.  They can be placed directly on top of beds to act as winter mulch but they will clump, so shredding gets rid of most of the clumping problems.  You can gather them with a gas blower, and that is how my neighbor helps me gather mine.  But I wish I had a manual leaf collector, it is quieter and doesn’t use up energy, except your own.  In many neighborhoods the local government will collect leaves for composting.  This is a great way to get rid of leaves that you don’t use yourself for compost or mulch.  But there are caveats.  First make sure there are not too many twigs and branches or larger objects.  Second, if you have any diseased plant debris, do not add this to the collection pile or add to your own compost.  The diseases which injured or killed the plant may survive the compost process and invade your garden again.  Also, if you use chemicals on your lawn or garden, do not add grass or plant clippings from things with chemicals on them.  These chemicals can be harmful to the beneficial bacteria and fungus in the compost.  Dispose of diseased and chemically treated yard waste through the trash. 

If you have a place to pile the leaves please keep them for a lovely compost material.  They can be used as the carbon component in your composter, or just let them rot where they are.  Or, add them to your layering when making a new “no dig” bed.

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