In autumn when the trees are brown, the little leaves come tumbling down; they do not make the slightest sound, but lie so quietly on the ground; until the wind comes puffing by, and blows them off towards the sky (anon)
To some people, fallen leaves are a big nuisance, but I would like you to think of them as a wonderful garden resource. If you gather them up, and without adding any other plant debris, place them into large plastic bin bags, poke a few air holes in the sides, and store them well out of sight.
Just before sealing the bags, you can pour in some water to help the rotting process to begin. In about a year’s time they will provide you with the best soil conditioner in the world – and the only cost has been time and your patience.
Leaf mould is a wonderful way to return rich nutrients back into the soil. When you have reached the stage of this dark brown crumbly material, you can use it as a soil improver and mulch. It can also be used in seed and potting mixes too.
Use all the autumn leaves that fall – there is no special recipe for the different species; the only proviso is that you bag only deciduous leaves; they will rot down, it is just that some will take longer than others..
Capture the leaves as soon as they begin to drop from the trees and shrubs. Freshly fallen, they’re much easier to rake. It’s especially important to keep the lawn free of leaves as you can kill off the grass is a short space of time if you allow them to lie. Use a spring tined rake, with a little downward pressure
Or, if this sounds like a huge chore, then why not run the lawnmower (with grass collection box firmly attached) and they will get lifted and chopped in one easy sweep. But again, this will only work if the leaves are dry.
If you’d rather not have large plastic bags hanging around behind the shed, then you can make a simple cylindrical container using plastic or wire netting, with a few supporting stakes. Adjust the size to suit your needs.
If you can, it would be a good idea to leave some drifts of fallen autumn leaves under hedges and other out of the way places. These provide a perfect spot for hibernating hedgehogs and other creatures
Follow these simple steps this year, then the plants in your garden will be given such a treat next year – and take it from me, they will thank you!