August 7th, 2023 by
Summer is well underway and it will be Autumn once again before we know it – along with cooler weather we will see the start of leaves changing colour and beginning to fall, for those garden enthusiasts this can mean more time spent in the garden removing fallen leaves in order to keep garden looking their best. However, did you know that these fallen leaves can have a treasure trove of benefits for both your garden, aesthetic and recreational? In this blog, we will look at how you repurpose the fallen leaves this Autumn!
The Benefits of Collecting Fallen Leaves
There are plenty of benefits to be found from collecting the leave that falls in our garden and putting them to other uses. One of the most common uses is to use them to make your own mulch, compost or fertiliser due to how rich in nutrients they are.
Fallen leaves can also be used to create habitat for wildlife such as hedgehogs to use during the colder months, so if you want to create more bio-diversity in your yard then fallen leaves are a great way to do this.
You can also use your fallen leaves for more recreational means such as creating a seasonal garden path, or using them with children for seasonal arts and crafts projects! Let’s take a closer look at some of these amazing uses for fallen leaves.
Mulching and Compost
You're probably familiar with the process of using fallen leaves and other waste to create mulch and compost for use in your garden.
Mulch is primarily used to cover the soil's surface and offers benefits such as improving moisture retention, which can be handy for those who have sandy soil to help improve the amount of water it can hold, add mulch to your soil can also help to suppress weeds and better regulate corrosion.
How to make mulch with leave
There is no complicated process to using your leaves as mulch, simply gather the fallen leaves and pad them around the base of plants. Add a layer of mulch using your fallen leaves before winter arrives is also a fantastic way to protect against the effects of winter – be sure to place a generous layer on the base of more sensitive plants and this will help to better regulate the temperature.
Fallen leaves are also a great way to make your own compost – compost is a nutrient-rich and can be used to improve soil structure, fertility and microbial activity on top of providing additional nutrients that will help plants to thrive and resist disease, a soil amendment that improves soil structure, fertility, and microbial activity. While you can purchase store-bought compost – it is just as easy to use fallen leaves and other natural products to make your own at home!
How to Make Compost
To compost your fallen leaves there are a few different methods you can try the quickest and easiest method is to use a composting bin, which you can pick up relatively cheap from hardware stores or order them online. Once you have a suitable container, it’s time to start layering them in your compost, if possible shred the leaves as this will help to speed up the composting process and layer the shredded leaves with other compostable material such as grass clippings, garden waste, kitchen scraps, since browning leaves are rich in carbon they also need to be balanced with nitrogen-rich materials to ensure that you are getting a balanced nutrient-rich compost. The ideal ratio is approximately 3 parts carbon to 1-part nitrogen. A good source of nitrogen can be found in waste such as uncooked fruit and vegetable peelings, tea leaves and coffee grounds of grass clippings.
You can keep adding to your compost pile, to ensure that you have a constant supply but it is important to make sure that you keep the pile moist – as this will help leaves and other organic matter to decompose quicker, it is also important to turn the pile about once a week with a pitchfork or shovel as this will also help to speed up decomposition by aerating the pile.
When your pile becomes crumbly in texture and has a rich earthy smell that’s when you know it is ready and you can deposit the nutrient-rich compost in the desired areas.
Creating a Wildlife Home
As well as being beneficial to your garden's soil and plant growth you can also make use of fallen leaves to encourage biodiversity in your garden. Fallen leaves make an excellent shelter for a wide range of insects, worms and other organisms that are beneficial for your garden's overall health.
If you live in an area that has water sources such as ponds, lakes and rivers nearby leaving a designated area in your garden off fallen leaves will also provide a safe place for amphibians such as frogs to hibernate in over winter. Cute little critters such as hedgehogs and field mice will also make use of crisp fallen leaves to also make their nests ready for the colder months so if you would like to make your garden into a safe haven for wildlife leave a few piles of fallen leave around your garden.
Arts and Crafts
For those of us with little ones at home whether children, siblings, nieces and nephews or even if you are a childminder – you can make fantastic use of fallen leaves for all kinds of autumn and winter arts and crafts projects. In order to use leaves for arts and crafts then it is important that you choose leaves that are not beginning to rot and thoroughly dry them before use – you can do this by placing the leaves evenly between two sheets of paper towels and leaving them in a warm room overnight – this should remove all the moisture and leave you will crisp leaves perfect for making some beautiful seasonal art pieces with. You can also preserve leave in the book too if you find interesting colours and shapes, this is a great way to preserve memories with young children too.
How Best to Collect and Store Your Leaves?
As you can see fallen leaves do not need to be an eye sore that leads to back-breaking chores, they have lots of fantastic uses and can be incredibly beneficial to your garden. So, how do we best go around collecting and storing these leaves to best make use of them?
Well of course there is the old-fashioned rake and sweeping brush method, if you only have a few fallen leaves then this tried and true method is a great way to gather up leaves. However, for those with larger gardens or homes that are surrounded by trees and hedges, it may be more practical to invest in a leaf blower this will make gathering leaves quicker and will also help to relieve some of the strain on your back that using manual tools can cause. You can also get leaf blowers that also function as a vacuum making collecting the leaves much easier too as the full bags can then quickly be stored. If you are looking to use your leaves to make compost or mulch then we also recommend investing in a shredder, this not only makes preparing mulch quicker it will also encourage leaves to decompose quicker so you don’t end up having to wait a year for your compost to be ready for use!
When it comes to storing leaves, this depends on what you are planning to use your leaves for. If you are looking to create a protective winter barrier with mulch then storing the leaves may not be necessary simply just place them where you need them in your yard. While with compost while you will add the majority of these to your compost bin it is also a good idea to place some dry leaves in waterproof bags in a warm dry area – this is due to the fact that finding brown material for your compost can be tricky during the warmer months by keeping some leaves in reserve you can then use these in summer and spring when the materials are sparse to ensure you have a consistent supply of compost. Mylek Electric 3000W Leaf Blower/Vacuum and Shredder Price: £59.99
Mylek Electric 3000W Leaf Blower/Vacuum and Shredder
Price: £59.99Buy Now
Now that we know about the treasure trove of benefits that are hiding in your fallen leaves, we hope that you will try to make use of these this autumn the best way you can as not only does it offer benefits to your garden and to the surrounding wildlife it can also hopefully make the back-breaking chore seem much less punishing!
Leave a reply
Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required