While leaf mold sounds disgusting, it is awesome for your garden! When I was starting to compost last year, I read Eliot Coleman’s book titled “Four-Season Harvest”. He discussed how leaf mold is a soil builder. Also, if you put them in a large pile, they will decompose in 2 to 3 years.
Next, I took a look at Patrick’s One Yard Revolution You Tube video from Nov. 2017 titled “How I Prep Our Garden for Winter with Free Autumn Leaves and Wood Chips”. His advice is to put at least 4 inches of autumn leaves on your garden beds.
Personally, I like Patrick’s method. Here are my tips for preparing your raised beds for the fall:
- If your soil is too compacted, then use a hand shovel or a Cobra tool and loosen it up.
- If you have some leftover balanced plant food or used coffee grounds, sprinkle it on top of the soil.
- Add a thick layer of leaves.
- Use a watering can to wet the leaves so they don’t blow around. If you run into a dry spell in the fall, then you may need to repeat this step.
- As the leaves get compacted or decompose, you can add more leaves and more water.
By the end of Spring, the leaves should be decomposed.
Here are the benefits:
- Leaves are free!
- They improve soil fertility which means they provide nutrients to the soil and improve soil structure. Improving soil structure means that the soil will become loose over time.
- The layer of leaves protect and feed the organisms including earthworms over the winter. Also, the leaves are protecting my garlic cloves over the winter.
- Don’t forget by using leaves, you are helping the environment. If you have left over leaves, don’t put them in a plastic bag and put them out for garbage pickup. In our area, we can put them out by the curb in a brown bag for recycling/composting.
- Also, If you have left over leaves, you may want to keep some for mulching in the garden.
One of my favorite places to check out fall leaves is Cooper’s Rock, WV.