Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Using fall leaves in the garden.

Take advantage of fallen leaves, to make improvements to your garden soil. Raking leaves and adding them to your garden to compost over the winter months will result in a much improved garden soil next spring. Leaves don’t contain a lot of nutrients, but composting them will produce leaf mold which will greatly improve the structure of your garden soil. Leaf mold is a dark, spongy material that results from microorganisms breaking down the leaf. It’s the stuff you find at the bottom of a pile of leaves that have piled up on the lawn or along the street curb.
As soon as leaves begin to fall and pile up, the process of decomposing begins. You can take advantage of this natural cycle by making a pile of leaves in a corner of your garden or simply digging them into your garden soil.  Leaves decompose cold. The process doesn’t require heat to work.
Smaller pieces will break down faster, so put the catcher bag on the mower and mow the lawn.
You can put the leaves, chopped or not, directly into the garden soil 
or start with a pile of leaves in a corner of your garden bed.

Add some Nitrogen such as Cottonseed Meal and water thoroughly. Turn the leaves once or twice during the winter.
By spring you should have rich leaf mold to add to your garden. If all of the leaves aren’t completely broken down by spring, leave them in the garden. The composting process will continue through the summer months. By fall you’ll be ready to start the cycle again. Your garden soil needs to be continuously improved and making leaf mold is an easy to accomplish this.   

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