By Vanessa Richins
You may have been throwing away one of the best sources for mulches and composts.
During the fall and winter, many yards become filled with fallen leaves.
Most people rake them up, put them in garbage bags, and throw them away.
However, this is an excellent free source of garden nutrients that also keeps more waste out of the landfills.
All you need to do is prepare a leaf mulch. Simply create a pile of leaves that is 2″ thick, set your lawn mower on high, and make a few passes to make sure the leaves are chopped well enough. Don’t do this when the leaves are very wet, and don’t pile them too thick.
If you want to add nutrients to your lawn, you can just leave this leaf mulch on the grass. It won’t take long to break down and add organic matter to the lawn.
Leaf mulch is very useful in winterizing trees and shrubs. Place a pile of leaf mulch about 3-6″ deep around the base of trees, and about 4″ around shrubs. Don’t put it right up against the bark though – if you do this, it usually makes the bark moist, which attracts fungi and diseases that will attack.
Leaves also are a great addition to compost piles. For compost, you need both nitrogen materials, like grass, and carbon materials, like leaves. You need more carbon than nitrogen, so there is plenty of room for all of your leaves. The result will be a rich nutrient source to add to your soil.
Do you make leaf mulches and composts?