What to do with all those fallen leaves?

Fallen leaves


I’m always on the look out for a bargain, so something FREE is extra appealing. One of the most important factors in successful gardening is a healthy soil. It is simply fundamental for obvious reasons. Whether you mainly grow ornamentals or edibles, that healthy soil is the key to success. Gardening involves cropping and growing more intensely than Nature does on her own, so a little help is called for in the form of  those mysterious sounding ‘soil conditioners’ often mentioned in gardening articles and books.  Garden compost and well rotted manure are brilliant as they add texture, moisture retention and food to the soil but I’m also a great fan of leafmould. This isn’t so good when it comes to feeding the soil but it is a brilliant material for improving soil texture.  Perfect for using as a mulch around fruit or vegetables and for incorporating into your veg plot or allotment.

Right now many of us are surrounded by falling leaves, so make use of them and turn them into leafmould. It is easy and  doesn’t cost a penny!


Gather up fallen leaves, avoiding those with very tough veins eg horesechestnut, sycamore and evergreen and spiky leaves. If you can chop them up, even better as they will then rot down more rapidly. One of the easiest ways to chop them is to  run the mower over them  and as this often adds some moisture rich and nitrogen rich grass clippings, so much the better.

Pack the leaves into bin bags, add a litre or two of water if they are not already soggy, puncture the sides of the bag a few times, fold the top over and then hide them away behind the shed or garage. In 12-18 months you’ll have a fab soil conditioner….and your edibles will reward you well.

About The Author

With a BSc in Botany and a further degree specializing in protecting plants from pests and diseases Pippa spent 11 years working for The Royal Horticultural Society at their garden in Wisley, advising gardeners about their gardening problems. More recently Pippa has become a well-loved and respected TV and Radio broadcaster and a prolific writer, with a host of best-selling gardening books to her name. Pippa regularly gives gardening talks and lectures, worked as the horticultural consultant for the ITV murder mystery series 'Rosemary and Thyme' and in 2007 was awarded an honorary Doctorate.

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