Sunday, November 8, 2009

Money doesn't grow on trees... but mulch does!

Ah, fall. The time of year when the trees provide free mulch.

Many homeowners look at the fallen leaves as something to "deal with." They bag it and let the city pick it up and cart it away.

Others dump their leaves in the nearest wooded area or abandoned lot.

In some areas people burn leaves (no photos, thank goodness none of my neighbors up here have been doing this - it's not only wasteful but it's also very polluting).

But the smart gardener knows that leaves are a great source of nutrients. My husband has already run the lawn mower once to shred leaves on the lawn - this allows them to break down quickly without covering the grass and provide free, organic fertilizer for the lawn. I'm leaving the leaves in the garden where they are caught among the plants.

In fact I'm hoping to steal some leaves from neighbors who don't want them so that I can put a good layer down on all my planting beds. Then I'll cover them with a nice layer of shredded wood mulch to hold them in place and next year they'll compost into the ground to feed my shrubs and perennials.

If you've got the room you can build simple compost bins to hold fall's bounty and convert it into gardening gold. Or you can do the easy man's compost. Fill black plastic bags with leaves. Add a shovel of dirt and some water and punch a few holes in the bags. Then set them somewhere you won't notice them for a year or two and you'll have slow grown compost. When I had an acre of mostly wooded land I was able to do this. The problem I had was with tree roots growing into the bags to get at the nutrients.

Whatever you do just remember that those leaves that annoy the non-gardener are free mulch, compost or organic fertilizer for the smart gardener. Maybe money does grow on trees.

1 comment:

  1. The best natural mulch i have found is pine straw and it is great priced.