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A Free Gift For You Direct From The Annual Fall

 width=We all love the varied colors of the trees in the Fall but not everyone loves the autumn leaves that come tumbling down as a result. Out come the noisy leaf blowers as a way to get rid of this so-called seasonal nuisance. Of course, all these leaves do fill the gutters, block the drains, smother lawns, litter pathways and gravel areas and do have to be cleared before they become slippery and a danger to pedestrians. But please don't just discard without a thought!

Leaf mould

Leave mould is a precious commodity in the garden. And it is not commercially produced. It is wonderful for improving the structure of the soil, a healthy conditioner for heavy clay and to use as a mulch, especially for woodland type plants. Leaf mould is largely made by fungal activity and needs no heat to stir the fungi into action. If you make your own potting compost, leaf mould is a very useful additive.

How to make your own

All those piles of leaves are waiting as a free gift for you and your garden. And it is so easy to make. Ideally, a wire cage open at the top is the perfect storage area. Pile them in as you collect and if you live in a dry area, give them a watering as you add each layer. If you cannot manage a wire cage, then a plastic garbage bag will do (with a few holes made in it). Leave the top turned but not tied. The leaves will still rot down and the bags can be stored away in a quiet corner and forgotten. Let the leaves break down naturally - it may take up to a year.

And the end result

Once they have rotted down, you will have a lovely, crumbly material (with a faint smell of a woodland floor) to dig into your beds and borders - and at absolutely no cost! You can never have too much.