Monday, October 10, 2011
Fall is in the air....
Can you smell that? The crisp cool air,the scent of burning leaves that seems to signal the beginning of fall?
I don't know why it is that people insist on burning leaves to get rid of them..
I mean,I know there are a lot of them,and you think you don't know what to do with them all,after all they are covering up your carefully manicured lawn,and sidewalks,driveways,etc,etc....
However by burning them you're just throwing away a perfectly good,free,fertilizer source for your garden and flower beds.Yep,all that money that people spend every year on lawn fertilizer,and special fertilizers for the garden,the flowers,etc....is a total and complete waste of money.IF they would just use what nature has already provided.
With just a little effort on your part you can save some very valuable nutrients for either your garden,flowers or even your lawn if you insist on having one(more on that later).
You can compost them as they fell,or run them through a shredder,or run them over with your lawn mower to make the pieces smaller so they break down faster.Leaves contain small amounts of nitrogen,and as they decompose,you get leaf mold,but leaf mold is not something to be afraid of,as plants love it,and thrive on it.
You can add them to your compost pile after you've shredded them,but I normally choose to just layer the shredded leaves right into the garden beds,by spring they will be nearly gone,back into the soil,and will help feed your garden plants.
If you don't want to mess with them all that much,you can simply mow over them right where they fell,and they will break down and feed the lawn.
I must add a word of caution here,not to use the leaves from Oak,hickory,or walnut trees in your compost or your garden....unless you are going to let them decay for several years.The leaves from these trees contain tannins and other agents that will actually PREVENT plants from growing,so you could use them in pathways,etc.areas that you would like to keep weed/grass/plant free.
Whole leaves can also be used as a mulch around plants and flowers,in pathways around the garden,etc,etc.
With so many uses for them,it seems silly to put so much effort into raking them up just to light them on fire,or rake them out to the curb to be hauled away by the city.Why not let them work for you by feeding you plants?