Leaves can be used to improve your garden. They can save you the burden of bagging leaves in expensive trash bags. Doing away with the leaves to be collected by the trash man is not the best idea either. Any ideas on how to use leaves in your garden?
You will agree with me that leaving leaves accumulate on your lawn will make the lawn look really bad. Depending on the size of your lawn or the season, the amount of leaves that need to be collected might differ. If there isn’t much work to be done, one might consider using the rake to collect the leaves or a leaf blower to help collect. However, if you have a large lawn you might consider getting a leaf blower for that matter. Read our review for the best walk behind leaf blower here.
How to use leaves in your garden
So, what are some of the ways that one can use the leaves to improve their garden? Below are some of the common ways on how to use leaves in your garden one can try at home.
Shred your leaves
One of the ways on how to use leaves in your garden is shredding. By shredding, you will be getting the right material for your garden. If you are thinking that special equipment will be needed, you are wrong. The process is simple; use the lawn mower to run over your leaves a few times in order to shred them. Important to note- if you have a lot of leaves to process get an electric leaf shredder.
However, before shredding it is important to note the following:
- Make sure that you shred the leaves before using them for mulching. The reason is that whole leaves can form a mat that water cannot penetrate. I am sure this is not something that you would like to have with your shredded leaves.
- When shredding, look out for the kind of leaves you’re working on. Some leaves like eucalyptus, walnut and camphor laurel contain substances that prevent plant growth. Therefore, it would be good to compost these leaves before you can use them in your garden.
- Lastly, it is good to add fertilizer– slow release nitrogen to the soil when you have added the shredded leaves. This will help the leaves decompose and ensure that the soil microbes do not take in all the available nitrogen.
Now that you have shredded your leaves, how are you going to use them?
Mulching. By covering your plants with a layer of mulch; the mulch will retain the moisture and will reduce your watering requirements. The reason behind this is that evaporation rate will be reduced and little to no water will be lost. In addition, the weed growth will be restricted- the logic behind this is simple. Mulch will not provide the conducive environment for the weed growth.
Compost. When making compost, it is important to identify what you can add to your compost and what you cannot. From the general knowledge, leaves are rich in carbon and adding leaves to your compost will balance the nutrients provided by the pile. The compost can later be used in your garden to boost the growth of the plants. This is one of my favorite options when it comes to the use of the shredded leaves.
Plant protection. In your kitchen garden, apply some shredded leaves to your newly planted vegetables to maintain the optimal temperatures needed. Cover cold-hardy vegetables like kale, carrots, beets and leeks to harvest them in winter.
Soil improvement. Another way to use the leaf shreds is by adding them to the soil. This will help improve the texture and encourage micro-organisms and bacteria to integrate into the soil. Mixing the shredded leaves into the soil will help you achieve this.
Leaf mold. This is not a quick process and might take an average of two years to achieve. What you will be required to do is to place the shredded leaves in bags and store them and then wait for them to decompose into leaf mold. Moist shreds tend to form molds faster.
Blanket over soil. This is important if you will not be using the piece of land for a while. For instance, if you won’t be using some part of your garden over the winter, one of the things that you can do is create a blanket of leaves. This will prevent weeds from coming up and therefore protecting the soil. If you would like to plant during the spring, use a rake to remove the leaf blanket. After planting, you can use the same leaves as mulch for your plants.
Like we have seen, you have no reason as to why you should not be clearing the leaves in your lawn and using them in your garden. There is so much to gain when using them into your soil. Apart from making your lawn look smart and amazing, you can as well benefit from the usage of leaves in your garden.