And it is magnificent.
Fall is my favorite season. The bite in the air that pricks at your nose, bonfires that tint the air with richness, raking all the leaves that fill your yard...
Yep, I love raking leaves. I also like shoveling snow, but that's another story.
Maybe I like leaves because I'm still a kid at heart and will always enjoy jumping in a musty pile of dying tree...but I do. I love leaves.
Besides being an entertaining Saturday afternoon, they are also great in your garden. In the summertime I use grass clippings as mulch in the garden. It breaks down over the course of the season and provides nice green mulch to your plants.
Leaves have a similar effect. They will break down over the course of the wintertime and create a layer of nutrients for your plants to draw from. They also act as a pair of mittens and a nice warm hat for your plants. Adding a layer of leaves over your perennials will help regulate soil temperature of the wintertime, as well as give new shoots a protective blanket as they enter the world in the spring.
Benefits of using leaves as fall mulch:
- The smaller bits will break down and become compost in the soil. (Mow over your leaves to make smaller pieces that will break down faster).
- They help regulate soil temperature. The leaves act like a jacket for your plants, giving them more time to go into hibernation and helping to trap moisture in the ground and prevent soil erosion.
- They protect new growth in the spring. The leaves will act as a blanket in the springtime, giving new shoots protection against sneaky frosts. Don't remove the leaf covering until after your last frost date.
So go on out into this great fall world. Play in the leaves, enjoy the colors, and the dump them on your beds. Your plants will thank you.