Autumn has arrived and, while we’re inside stoking up the log fire, many more people will be outside, busily firing up their leaf blowers to clear their gardens, patios and drives of fallen leaves. But did you know those mounds of Autumn leaves can actually be put to good use in the garden? Here are five suggestions as to how…
Add them to the compost bin
The easiest thing to do with piles of Autumn leaves is to chuck them in the compost bin along with the rest of your garden waste where they’ll gradually decompose and add to the compost’s goodness. Leaves should be treated as ‘brown’ compost – the drier stuff that is required to mix in with ‘green’ items such as grass trimmings and vegetable peelings. To help the compost along it’s a good idea to mix the leaves in; even better to shred them before entry (the VIKING range of shredders can help with that!)
Autumn leaf mold
You can also use leaves to make a soil improver all of their own, which is particularly useful if the compost bin is already overflowing. Although leaves aren’t packed with many nutrients they will help your soil’s structure and give it a bit more water retention, besides making a tired patch of earth more organically healthy. Simply pile up the leaves in a corner, give them a good soaking, cover with tarp and wait – depending on the type of leaf you’re composting it should be ready the following year.
Mulch your Autumn leaves
Autumn leaves make a great garden mulch that will help look after your plants over winter, keeping tender plants warm while discouraging weeds to join the battle for soil space. Give them a good soaking to help weigh them down and they’ll also cover any unsightly patches in the border, giving the whole space a tidier look.
Leave a few scattered around
You may think that scattered leaves look messy but they can be useful to the garden wildlife. They attract various bugs for food and shelter which, in turn, attracts birds and other wildlife to an easy dinner. They’re also enjoyed by worms – creatures that are vital for a healthy garden – who will pop their heads up through the veg patch or lawn and drag bits of leaf back down with them (which, in turn, improves the soil). You can also make some of your leaves more manageable by shredding them with the lawn mower, which will also help air circulate through the lawn more easily.
Leave a pile in the corner
If you’re the generous type who likes to help nature as much as possible, keeping a decent pile of leaves in an out-of-the-way place will be much appreciated by the garden wildlife. Besides being a source of food it can also be used as bedding during the cold winter nights. Place your pile in a place where it won’t get disturbed – under a hedge away from the house is ideal – and your garden will be treated as one of the best wildlife hotels in the neighbourhood.
What do you do with your autumn leaves? Have you ever tried one of the above tips? Let us know in the comments.
The Two Thirsty Gardeners, Rich and Nick, are bloggers who love gardening, eating and drinking in equal measure! They love to share tales from their allotment including their experiments turning the spoils of their crops into alcohol, both the good and the bad!
To find out more about Rich and Nick, click here.