Throughout the fall season, leaves change colors, display their brilliance, and then drift down into our yards and onto our lawns. This brings about the task of raking and disposing of the many leaves. This does not need to be a burdensome chore, however. With these creative and green ideas, raking and leaf distribution can become a multi-faceted beneficial gardening task.
To Rake or Not to Rake
It is not always necessary to rakes leaves off spent flowerbeds, particularly ones located directly beneath a deciduous tree. If the flowers are done blossoming for the year, the leaves can be left right where they fall. By covering the bed with the leaves, you are both protecting the plants from the harsh winter weather, as well as enriching the soil with nutrients from the decomposing leaves. Come spring, simply remove the leaves from the bed, and you’ll find sprouting spring flowers, little to no weeds, and nice rich soil.
Give Back to the Earth
When you do decide to rake up the leaves on your lawn, be sure to do so with a good purpose in mind. The Earth is so generous to humans and animals alike, feeding us, sheltering us, and even providing oxygen for us to breathe. The least we can do while doing our yard work is give a little something back to the Earth. Whether raking your leaves into piles for children to jump and play in, or simply clearing an area to make it more tidy or visually appealing, what you do with the leaves after raking them up is important, and can be very beneficial to the soil and plants alike. The leaves can be put in compost piles or bins, be distributed over flowerbeds which are being put to sleep for the winter, or be put in clear leaf bags to be used as mulch on beds next year.
Start a New Bed
An easy and green, natural way to prepare soil for a new bed next year is to put some raked leaves into clear leaf bags and then lay the bags down where you want to start the new vegetable or flower bed. The bags of leaves will kill the grass beneath them by keeping sun and moisture off of the area. Meanwhile, the sun will be composting the leaves inside the bags. In spring, simply pull the bags off, plant your seeds, and then mulch the bed with your freshly composted leaves once your new plants come up. Note: Leaves from maples tend to decompose faster than other leaves. They can be raked up and bagged whole. For faster decomposition, other types of leaves can be run over with the lawn mower first, before raking them up and bagging them or putting them on beds as mulch.
There is no need to rake and throw away your fallen leaves each autumn. Recycle and reuse the leaves, so to speak, by allowing the leaves to complete their life-cycle via composting, and add to the life-cycle and enrichment of the soil and plants in return. Your nutrient rich soil and healthy plants will thank and reward you.