14 December 2009

Leaf Mulch

I'm probably violating all sorts of rules by doing so, but I decided to use un-shredded, un-composted leaves as mulch in the garden this year. I figure if it's good enough for the forest floor, it's good enough for the Grackle!

We had a ton of leaves fall after the freeze, and so did everyone else. John swung around the neighborhood and picked up 12 bags of leaves, and I raked all of ours into piles.

I layered the primarily cedar elm and pecan leaves about 4-5 inches thick around the front garden.

My main goal is to suppress all the new weed growth in the front yard, so I figured unshredded leaves would be good for that. Secondarily, as the leaves do their own natural decaying, I hope they will start to turn that front soil into real, nice garden soil - not the hard packed clay that came from years as a lawn.

The leaves pretty well bury the small sedges and such, but those will get large soon enough.

All this moisture and light rain (John's mom calls it "heavy air") will hopefully promote smothering and composting. If we have a dry spell sometime this winter, I may need to soak everything with a hose.

Hope this works...


Eric said...

You aren't alone! I do this too. Over a couple of months they do decay, into nice mulch -I call this composting in place, and try to turn the beds with a rake or pitchfork 1-2 times before the spring planting, otherwise it can be challenging to dig when it's time for new planting. But it definitely keeps the weeds down.

Linda/Central Texas Gardener said...

Lee, I've done this for years, with my garden-on-a-budget! It's amazing how quickly it loosens up our clay soil. In early spring, after everything is cut back, I'll throw on some LadyBug fertilizer (or alfalfa pellets)and mulch over the leaves. Works like charm.

Lee said...

Ooo. Good tip!

Paul said...

It works! But I strongly urge raking them up or keeping the layer light. Snails and slugs will have a perfect habitat otherwise.