I enjoy seeing the beautiful color of the leaves (fall is my very favorite season), but more than that, falling leaves mean free mulch for me! Here’s how I use leaves as mulch in my garden.
The afternoons have been pretty gorgeous even though we’ve had our first freeze warnings this week.
So I’ve been enjoying being outside tidying up my garden a bit. Which means trimming trees and roses and the start of chopping up the leaves with my lawnmower. I’ll be doing this for at least a few more weeks.
I use the chopped leaves to mulch some of my flower beds and the raised beds in my vegetable garden that I’m not using. This limits weed germination. Normally I’d have more beds to cover with leaf mulch, but this year I’m using all my beds but 2. You can work any leaves that haven’t decomposed into the soil in spring and use them as an organic soil amendment. They don’t have many nutrients so I don’t use them as a fertilizer.
I don’t use leaves under plants that do better with pine straw which is acidic & makes the soil acidic when it decomposes.
So acid-loving plants like my blueberry bushes (you can see the pine straw underneath the leaves), hydrangeas, azaleas, and gardenias get pine straw. Fortunately pine straw is cheap in the South and you get good coverage for a bale. So it’s very economical.
I have mostly Maple, Pecan, Poplar, Crepe Myrtle, Bradford Pear & River Birch leaves to mulch. Normally I have a mix of leaves to use as mulch since I have different trees all over. Oak is fine but takes a little longer to break down (as do Pecan). My neighbor shreds her Walnut leaves and says they are safe to compost or use as mulch. Just do a quick Google search if you are uncertain about whether or not your leaves are safe to use as mulch or compost. I think Eucalyptus can be composted but not shredded and used as mulch for example.
Besides mulching my empty raised beds I had to water the veggies I have growing. Although, I have a separate post coming on my fall/winter garden, I have to show you my peppers now!
I’m experimenting with some summer vegetables to see how long I can keep them producing under the row covers we installed.
I’m so excited that I’m still picking bell peppers in November!! Anyway, I do have a post on my winter vegetable garden coming up but I had to share these with you!
So back to leaves 🙂 …. don’t just bag them (unless you’re keeping them to use in your spring/summer compost), use them now as mulch!