5 Ways To Put Fallen Leaves to Work
Leaf mulch has a number of great benefits and this is the time of year when you seem to be building piles and piles of endless leaf fall. It can seem like a thankless chore, and while a few leaves won’t cause any problems, hazardous, slippery wet leaves and subsequent blocked drains and gutters can be a nuisance and cause a real headache.
However, there are many ways to put your leaves to good use, and here are 5 ways of how you can put them to work!
HELP YOUR LAWN: When leaves fall onto your lawn, set your rotary lawnmower on its highest cutting height and mow over them without the back bag attached. This will shred the leaves into small pieces enabling them to break down into the lawn. This makes a great soil conditioner and helps the soil to retain moisture and remain healthy throughout the winter.
MAKE COMPOST: Fallen autumn leaves are a great source of brown material for your compost bin. By ensuring they are moist but not wet, mixed with green material and turned once a month to allow oxygen to circulate, they will eventually break down into a thick black compost – rocket fuel for your plants, flowers and lawn.
LEAF MULCH: If you have a large number of fallen leaves, using them as mulch is a great alternative to throwing them away. First, collect them and shred them using a rotary mower. Once you have shredded the leaves, place them around your plants and flower beds – two or three inches thick, avoiding the stem as this can cause the plant to rot. Leaf mulch has several great benefits. Not only does it break down into a great soil conditioner, but it will act as insulation for plants and vegetables, and also protect useful animals like worms from prey.
BAG THE NUTRIENTS FOR LATER: During the spring and summer months, it can be difficult to find sufficient brown material for your compost bin (a percentage of brown material is essential for healthy homemade compost). By storing leaf fall in bags in a cool dry place, it allows a rich source of brown material for the following year. So the best thing is to put the leaves in a bag and leave them in your shed.
INSULATION: Now this one may sound strange, but will be beneficial if your over-wintering plants are in your shed or unheated greenhouse. Collect as many leaves as you can, dry them out, and bag them up. Pack as many as you can tightly together and store them in the cold areas of your greenhouse or shed to act as insulation. These can then be used as the nutrient brown material needed for your compost bin in the spring and summer.
It can seem like a thankless chore collecting the leaf fall, and while a few leaves won’t cause any problems, hazardous, slippery wet leaves and subsequent blocked drains and gutters can be a nuisance and cause a real headache. So it is a job that unfortunately you need to keep on top of. If you decide to put some on a bonfire then please remember our friendly hedgehogs. It is advisable to burn a bonfire on the same day that it is built otherwise local hedgehogs may see it as free hotel and decide to hibernate inside it. If not then please check your bonfire before setting it alight.