Monday, November 5, 2007

Garden gold, red, orange, brown...

Leaf Mulch

I decided this year that I would make leaf mulch. Normally, I put all my leaves in a pile to make leaf mould which is a great soil conditioner, and a nice mulch. However, it takes at least one year, if not more to make leaf mould.

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Front spiral garden

It is a very nice organic method, little energy use (mostly just yours as you rack them into the recepticle or pile), little waste. As most of us are plagued by the LAWN, we feel the need to remove most of the leaf litter to maintain the falsehood of a mowed meadow instead of a forest clearing. Psst - you can mulch leaves onto the lawn but I don't know to what quantity. I use this fact as an excuse for not removing every last leaf. Anyhoo -

There is another way of using your leaves as mulch - the impatient way.

Instructive Instructions

Step 1: Use lawn mower to bag up the last cutting of grass and leaves.
Step 2: Dump bagged or racked leaves onto your driveway
Step 3: Run over leaves with a lawnmower until they shredded into small pieces
Step 4: Apply a thin layer to perennial beds as mulch
Step 5: Use as insulation around tender plants
Step 6: Smile at the odd looks of neighbours.

A Conversation with Neighbours

I didn't have enough leaves for all my gardens so I got some off my neighbours. They were bemused? confused?

Me: Hey there. Saw you raking like fiends yesterday.

Innocent Neighbour: We thought of tossing them over the bushes into the neighbour's yards but figured it would be better to bag them.

Me: Funny you should say that because I could use some leaves.

Innocent Neighbour: Really?

Me: Yeah, I'm making leaf mulch. (very important that you explain that aren't just leaving whole leaves on the beds to blow back into their yards). I am grinding them very small so they won't blow around as much.

Innocent Neighbour: Well we have a lot of leaves.

Me: Great.

Innocent Neighbour: I think there are 15 bags.

Me: I'm sure I could use it.

Innocent Neighbour: 15 bags.

Me: Super. When can I get them.

Innocent Neighbour: I'll open the garage

--Meanwhile, Innocent Neighbour's wife, whom we will call Unbelieving Neighbour came out. --

Unbelieving Neighbour: No, she doesn't.

Innocent Neighbour: I'm not kidding.

Me: No, really I want the leavs.

Unbelieving Neighbour: There are 15 bags!

Me: That should just be enough.

And now my beds are mulched.


Info on leaf mulch
Oak versus maple leaves and dandelion populations?
Making partly decomposed leaf mulch
More on leaf mulch - whole or shredded
Urban Leaf uses


jodi said...

Good for you! I have to go down to one of the local towns and go leaf-napping with the truck, because up here on the hill we all have the same issue with our leaves blowing into the next province or continent. My longsuffering spouse is finally getting used to it...

hw said...

Love it. I also get leaves from my neighbour. The best part - they come already mulched! He's got this leaf blower and when he sucks them up to put them in the leaf bag, they get mulched. He's now my favourite neighbour!

kate said...

Your post reminds me of my mother's leaf collecting ... she's done it for years. Now all the neighbours drop off their bags of leaves. No one can believe that she uses them all in the garden. But she does ... and then hands me over her extras. (Keeps me from midnight raids in the back-alley garbage bins.)

Anthony said...

You're lucky that your neighbors bag their leaves. In my town we just rake them to the curb and that makes borrowing leaves more of a chore. I have to run around the neighborhood with a rake and a garbage can. :)

blueblue said...

I'd never thought about that part of garden mulch : ) . Too good!

Kylee said...

We do the same. Our next-door neighbors dumps his leaves on our compost pile.

We chop them up and put them on the gardens, too. In fact, that's on the agenda for today!

Pearl said...

:) now that's a good neighbour. Like the plan.

Mary said...

Very interesting article and you saved a lot of money in the long run. Leaf mulch is much better for the lawn that those that you buy because it is natural. Great job.

Crafty Gardener said...

We love mulched leaves too. We got that leaf machine that sucks and mulches ... great device. The city goes around the streets where my daughter lives and picks up the leaves which the people bag up for them ... just think of all the leaves you could get if you went ahead of the city trucks. Any extras we have go into an open compost pile at the very back of the garden ... and what gorgeous soil they turn into after a year or so.