Fallen Autumnal Leaves -
“Just a Pretty Picture or a Free Organic Fertiliser?”
The picture perfect setting for Autumn, an array of reds, gold and browns gently sweeping the English countryside in a blanket of fallen leaves. Makes you want to grab a scarf and a cup of tea and embrace the change of seasons.
For most of us though in our own gardens it means the regular sweep up of leaves collecting around the patio and blowing in the house when you let the dog out.
What we should be doing with these pesky autumnal beauts is using them for the free, organic and eco-friendly fertilisers that they are.
- Tree’s leaves contain the perfect recipe of ingredients to develop excellent soil tilth. The combination of elements including Calcium, Nitrogen, Magnesium and Potassium are drawn from the ground into the tree and then return to the ground when the leaves fall.
- When decomposed, they can hold up to 500 times their own weight in water and when added to soil can increase the soils water-holding capacity by up to 50%.
- And if that’s not good enough, they’re free and will save space in your waste bin if you were to throw them out with the grass cuttings.
How do we use them?:
Leaves need to decompose to release their nutrients. To do this, you can either allow them to decompose directly in the soil or create a compost or leaf mould bin to create your fertiliser which can then be added to your soil.
Most importantly, soil needs air and water so don’t allow whole fallen leaves to pile up on soil as this will create a dense barrier against the elements it needs the most.
- Chop & Spread:
Using your lawn mower, chop your fallen leaves so they are broken into smaller pieces. This will help to quicken the decomposing process and allow water to filter through. Work your chopped leaves through your soil in an evenly spread pattern. As the leave decompose their nutrients will then be released directly into the soil.
- Leaf Mould:
To create a fully organic and free nutrient rich soil conditioner you will need to make leaf mould. Don’t worry, this is the one type of mould you will love.. or at least your soil will. This is the end result of the leaf decomposition process.
For Smaller Gardens – Bag it!
Put all your fallen leaves into a black bin bag and pierce some holes in the bag to allow air and water to filtrate. Pop this in a shaded area of your garden and leave nature to do the work.
For Larger Gardens – Bin It!
Make a leaf mould bin from chicken netting (or similar) and pile your leaves in. The leaves need to be kept moist to encourage them to decompose and can be turned once a year to aid even decomposing.
In 2 years the leaves will have reduced to around a third of the volume of their original size and be ready for adding to your soil.
There’s something very satisfying to have aided the circle of life in your own back garden and avoided buying bags of different types of soil and compost.
Don’t thank us, thank nature!!