It is my favorite time of year, which may be a surprise, considering how much I love my garden. And while it's bittersweet, putting most of my garden to bed is a lovely experience when it can be done in cool, crisp weather with hundreds of flame-colored leaves drifting down around me.
There is, of course, a more practical reason for my love of fall. All of those leaves go to work in my garden, improving my soil. I have six large shade trees on my lot, and I still find myself stealing my neighbor's leaves off of the curb. It's a sickness, I tell you....
Anyway. There are five main ways I use leaves in my garden:
1. Shred them with a lawn mower (or a chipper/shredder, if you've got it) and use them to mulch garden beds after the ground freezes.
2. Shred them and dig them into your garden beds. They'll break down over the winter, and your soil will have received a nice dose of organic matter.
3. Make a lasagna bed!
4. Keep a bag or a few buckets of them, and set them aside to add to your compost pile throughout the winter. Anytime you add food scraps or other "green" stuff to the compost pile, throw some leaves in there, too.
5. Make leaf mold.
Leaves also work well in your vermicomposting bin, but don't add too many, because they can mat down and create an anaerobic environment for your worms.
Do you hoard your fall leaves? What's your favorite way to use them in the garden?
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