Put your fallen leaves to good use

Some leaves can be left in wilder areas for small animals, but mostly its a good idea to rake them up and collect them. If left where they've fallen, leaves can smother small plants, can turn the lawn yellow, and encourage fungal diseases. They also clog up ponds, make the water very smelly and can turn paths into skating rinks.

Perhaps if we see the leaves as valuable garden commodity, the task may feel a little less onerous. Leaf mould is easy to make because it just needs leaves, and it is pest, weed and disease free.

It is lower in nutrients than general garden compost, but it makes a good all round soil improver when dug in or used as mulch. It aids water retention and improves drainage so can transform poor soil into a very decent one. A few buckets added to your general compost will help to boost its breakdown rate too as loads of microorganisms get to work.

If you have a small garden all you need are some black bin liners. Pack the leaves in as you collect them and if they are very dry add a little water. Tie the necks of the bags, make a few holes in the bags to let in a little air and any excess water out and stack them somewhere out of the way while they rot down.

If you don't want to create mulch, or don't have anywhere to store the bags, you can add leaves to your home compost bin or green waste bin.


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