On Thursday last week a story I wrote about leaf collecting tools ran in the newspaper. The timing was good because that very day was quite windy, and everywhere I looked outside there were leaves whirling in the air.
More than a couple gardeners told me this year that they add leaves to their beds every fall. The decomposing organic material is a natural fertilizer. My large tree is a live oak, and it doesn’t lose its leaves in a typical way, so I’ve been hoarding and whirring up leaves I find bagged on the sidewalk waiting for brush-and-bulky pickup.
It’s amazing how many leaves one can collect in this way. I could build a leaf mountain with what I saw out by the sidewalk last week. Unfortunately I have only the room for a leaf molehill or two.
Thus far I have processed probably a dozen bags of leaves. I suggest being picky when choosing discarded leaves. Go for the bags that are clear so you can see what’s inside. The fewer twigs the better; the drier the better.
For this story I tested a leaf chipper sold by Gardeners.com and a Black & Decker leaf vacuum/chipper/blower. Both were efficient at chipping leaves but probably not worth the extra dough if you already own a mulching mower.
Thus far the leaves have gone into my various composting piles where they are mingling with manure and various microorganisms. They have shrunk considerably, taking up about a fourth or less than what they originally did all bagged up. I am hoping that during this next go-round of leaf collecting I will find and process enough to cover the beds in my side yards and around the perimeter of the backyard.