It’s that time of year, leaves are falling and you’re raking up mass piles of…mulch. Yes, that’s right. Leaves serve as an excellent form of mulch for overwintering perennial herbs, flowers and vegetables. 3-4 inches of leaf litter layered over the base of plants helps maintain moisture levels, creates an insulation barrier by trapping air, and prevents soil erosion. As a bonus, keeping a layer of leaves in your garden provides a unique habitat for small wildlife that enables their survival through the colder months of the year.
I use leaf mulch around my herbs and over freshly planted garlic. In the spring when these plants warm up and ease out of dormancy, I add compost and a fresh layer of topsoil directly on top of the leaf litter, mimicking the lasagna gardening effect. This traps multiple layers of nutrients in the soil and provides natural food to fuel your spring growth.
Simply put — don’t waste all that hard work, it’s FREE MULCH. Put those leaves you strained your lower back to rake up to good use protecting your plants, supplementing your soil and nurturing your native critters. Cheers, friends!