Leaves make the best all natural mulch for flowerbeds and your edible garden beds. The worms love it and it does a wonderful job of keeping weeds at bay and it does wonders to help retain moisture. Leaves also help improve the soil over the long term as the worms turn them into the soil. The best part is that they’re FREE! I’m lucky that our gardens are surrounded by giant trees so I have leaves in abundance, but we also collect leaves from our neighborhood leaf drop off center as I don’t think you can ever have too many!
I prefer to chop the leaves up with a mower as this makes a better mulch. I find that they don’t get matted down and slimy in the spring when you do this. Adding some green material also helps the mulch break down faster and I have found that it helps insulate my garden better since the two mixed together seem to provide a little extra heat.
I often spread a 3-6 inch layer of mixed leaves and green material on all my garden beds in the fall. In the spring I leave it on some garden beds, mainly the ornamental ones as it helps prevent weeds from germinating. I usually mix them into the soil in my edible beds when I’m getting ready to plant.
Do you use leaves in your garden? What do you like using for mulch?
I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.