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How to Fuel Next Year’s Garden With Fall Leaves

Do you have any leaves left on your lawn? Maybe you’ve been diligent about raking leaves and your lawn is as clean as a whistle. Or perhaps you’ve been putting off the job for a few weeks now. If you still have some leaves floating around on your lawn, I have some good news for you: They can play a part in helping your flower or vegetable garden flourish next spring. Let me tell you about some ways you can make good use of those fall leaves in your spring garden.

Shred and Store Leaves

Before raking your leaves, run over them with your lawnmower to shred them. Next, rake up the shreds, put them into bags, and store them in your shed over the winter. Some lawnmowers are designed to pick up shredded leaves and direct them into an attached bag. If you have one of these mowers, your job just got a little easier. By the way, you don’t have to rake every leaf off of your lawn: The leftover shreds will provide nutrients to the grass. In the springtime, use these bags of shredded leaves to mulch your garden. Your collection of fall leaves will give your spring garden the nutrients it needs to flourish.

Add Leaves to the Compost Pile

If you have a compost pile, add some shredded leaves to it this fall. Leaves contain carbon that mixes well with the nitrogen in the grass clippings you’ve been adding to your compost pile all summer. In the springtime, take some of this nutrient-rich material from your compost pile and put it into your garden. The compost will add minerals to the soil to help your plants and flowers grow.

Create Leaf Mold

“Leaf mold” sounds like something you want to avoid or clean up, right? Well, in this case, just the opposite is true. Leaf mold can add a whole lot of nutrients to your garden. The first step in making leaf mold is to collect and put leaves into plastic bags. The leaves can be shredded or whole. It’s best if the leaves are moist when they are put into the bags. This moisture helps to bring on the mold! These leaves need to sit for at least a year, so find a good place in your garage for them. Take a peek in the bags every few months to make sure they are still moist. If not, add some finished compost to each bag. Leaf mold is crumbly cocoa-brown material with a sweet fragrance. It’s full of minerals that will aid the growth of your flowers and vegetables. As a note, sometimes, it takes a couple of years to create leaf mold; shredding the leaves first will make the process faster. Creating leaf mold has been a favorite gardening technique with English gardeners for many years. Why not give it a whirl in your own garden?

As you tackle your leaf-raking duties this fall, imagine how beautiful your spring garden will be next year as a result of your work. Thanks for reading. – Alan

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