Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Harvesting Leaves

 Leaf season has begun!  And it could last until Christmas.  Seriously.  It will snow in November/December but we will get a thaw and then we will get back out there and work on the oak leaves knocked down by the winter weather.  And then next March we will have one last round of cleanup.  But right now its not a huge chore.  The lightweight Poplar, Maple and London Plane leaves are the first to come down.  This used to be Ash leaf season but all of our many ash trees have died and most have been removed.

Cleanup phases in slowly with the battery powered blower, spending twenty minutes blowing a few leaves out of the landscape onto the lawn to be mulched by the lawn mower and it will end with twice a week sessions with the neighbor and three abreast gas powered back pack blowers blowing knee deep, thick, leathery red oak leaves back towards the woods whichever direction the prevailing winds will allow that day, then getting the lawnmower out and mulching them into the woods.

Shredded leaves keep the cabbage patch tidy and weed free.
I have a good use for shredded leaves and I consider this a resource to be harvested.   I use the leaves as mulch for my raised beds and containers and find they make a big difference in weed suppression and moisture retention.  

Not only does mulch keep the soil cool and moist it
prevents rain water from splashing up onto plants.
These early, light and easily shredded species are the ones I want.  I string out the extension cord and get out the old Craftsman leaf sucker/blower. 

I can get about eight blower bags into a large leaf bag if I take the time to compact it a little.  My husband watched this process and suggested I run the leaves through the shredder a few more times.  That way they will be smaller pieces and less likely to blow around in the garden when I spread them as mulch next year.  I'd been thinking about trying that....

Eight blower bags of Maple leaves compacted and ready to tie up.

Another four blower bags of London Plane leaves.
It sure would be nice to get it all into one bag.
Four bags become two bags
Two bags become one bag
The first full garbage bag gets run through twice more and 
now all twelve are stored in one garbage bag!

There are plenty more where these came from.  The Maple tree by the firepit and three London Plane trees have just started turning and dropping.  I know there are a few other ways to do this.  Some people use the lawn mower to round them up and them put them in the compost pile.  Some people put them in a barrel and use a string trimmer to chop them.  

I like the leaf sucker.  For one thing with the amount of leaves pictured in the first photo, it only takes about two to three minutes to fill a blower bag.  Honestly the only real hassle is getting the extension cord strung out and then wrapped back up.  The actual chopping is really fun.  And then if I just dump the bags into the big wheelbarrow to accumulate the processing and bagging doesn't take much time either.  Then I have bags of nice dry leaves to work with next summer.

I stack the bags in the compost area until spring and then as needed dump them back out into the wheel barrow to fluff out a bit before filling a TubTrug with them to neatly apply them to a bed or container.

Last year sixteen blower bags got me through the season.  When I cleared a bed to plant a cover crop I used the shredder to pick up all of the leaves and move them to another bed for reuse.  I hope to get one or two more garbage bags stored then I will have a wealth of leaf mulch.

1 comment:

  1. Ah leaves! My very favorite, and FREE, mulch of choice!