Bare soil is a prime target for erosion over the winter from rainwater and snow melt moving across it, which robs your garden of this precious resource and contributes to water pollution. Help prevent erosion from bare garden beds by covering the soil with a layer of mulch in the fall. Take advantage of the plentiful dropped leaves available in the fall. Collect up leaves with the bagger attachment of your lawn mower; then spread the chopped leaves over the bare soil surface. This leaf mulch will also protect the soil from the compaction that occurs when raindrops pelt bare ground and add organic matter as the leaves gradually break down. Come spring, just mix the partially decomposed leaves into the soil as you prepare the beds for planting.