Gardeners and all nature lovers are no doubt already aware of the vital role that trees and deciduous plants play in natural cycles. Leaves fall, and through a series of mechanisms and with the aid of earthworms, fungi, bacteria and other life, the nutrients within them return to the soil, where they can be used once more.
Sometimes, the best thing is simply to leave fallen leaves in place. In a forest garden, for example, they help build up the natural humus found on a wild woodland floor.
But you may have overlooked the opportunity to use leaves that fall on pavements, paths and patios to meet your gardening and growing your own goals.
Fallen leaves can be used in a wide range of different ways in your garden. Of course you can simply use them as mulch around perennial plants, or add them to your general composting system.
But you can also make a very useful leaf mould for your garden. I use leaf mould on garden beds and in the polytunnel. I also make a general purpose potting mix with compost, leaf mould and a little friable garden soil.
If you have a garden, I would highly recommend making leaf mould. But even if you do not have a garden, and are growing your own indoors, you may be able to collect small quantities of leaves from your surroundings to use as mulch for potted plants etc.. You could also consider using fallen leaves in your indoors composting system.
Right now, where I live, the leaves on certain trees are just beginning to change colour. A few apples is all that is falling from trees right now. But before too long, we’ll be onto the next phase, and thinking about collecting and making use of this valuable natural resource.