Earlier this year, we raked up some of our leaves and squashed them thickly into large bags, leaving them under a hedge. We looked at them last week and they had rotted down into leaf mulch.
Now, there are plenty of nutritious ways to feed your gardens, and of course you can buy most of them. But doesn’t making your own sound so much better? You never know what goes into the compost you are buying, but if you make your own it saves money and will be a hundred percent naturally made by you!
Back to nutritious feeding: leaf mulch is what Monty Don called ‘gold dust’. And here is why he is right:
Organic mulch improves soil fertility as it decomposes, reducing the need for fertilizers. Mulches maintain soil moisture by reducing evaporation so less irrigation is needed from you. It inhibits weed germination and growth, reducing the need for herbicides. It buffers soil temperatures keeping soils warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Mulching leaves simply recycles a natural resource.
This is the time of year for making your next supply. We use large bags that were once used for animal foods, similar to compost bags one can buy from the garden centre, but slightly tougher.
Word of caution: avoid “volcano mulching”, when mulch is piled against the base of a tree, it holds moisture, encouraging rot in the trunk.
Forget the leaf blower and bonfire, grab your rake and a large bag and get to storing some of that nutritious leaf mulch for your veg patch!