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Archive for May, 2012

Do you think it looks messy to let the leaves that fall on your garden bed lie undisturbed?  That seems to be the case for a majority of gardeners.  Whether the neighbours think it looks unkempt or not, I have a policy of leaving mine to rest on my gardens, especially the beds with woodland plants.  I do this for a variety of reasons.

My Garden Bed with Leaf Mulch

First, they keep in moisture.  We had very little snow and precipitation this winter, but what did fall, was largely retained by the leaves.

Second,the leaves help to support a thriving soil food web with an abundance of different types of microscopic life forms, beneficial insects, and earthworms to make your soils teem with life.

Third, it’s convenient. No need to rake and bag for yard waste pick up.  No need to buy and add mulch to replace the leaves. I do add some compost to some of the plants that need extra nutrition.

I am careful, however not to make such a thick layer that it smothers the plants.  The leaves are from a Norway maple, which are fairly large, and may cause matting which plants can’t grow through. It is possible to use a mulching mower to shred them if you own one.

Yes, sometimes the leaves blow around and look a bit messy on my walkway.  However, the wooden siding on my flower beds helps keep them in.

The proof that the mulch benefits the plants can be seen when I compare the Solomon’s Seal that has leaf mulch with Solomon’s Seal that has no leaf mulch (see below).  The ones with mulch are tall and lush and already blooming. The ones without leaf mulch (or any mulch for that matter) are short and straggly and only have a few buds.

So next time you start to rake leaves from your flower bed, you might like to reconsider!  Leaves are a gardener’s friend!

Solomon’s Seal without Leaf Mulch

Solomon’s Seal with Leaf Mulch

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