Ask a Question forum: leaves in my garden

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Dec 18, 2016 1:14 PM CST
i have a 20x100ft vegetable garden, i have covered it with about 18in of leaves for the winter, should i till them under, cover with plastic or just leave alone until spring then till under, what do i do to make it more beneficial,
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Dec 18, 2016 6:43 PM CST

Did you shred the leaves before you put them on your garden? That's quite a thick layer of leaves and it may not be able to compost. I would get rid of about half the leaves, add a layer of manure and mix well.
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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Dec 18, 2016 6:56 PM CST
If you can mix them in, that's my choice. Or, I would let them get thoroughly damp with rain, then cover. Fertilizer or manure mixed in will help.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Dec 18, 2016 7:11 PM CST
Eighteen inches is a lot of leaves but more importantly, what kind of leaves are they? and where is the garden (city/state/county)? A thick layer of un-shredded leaves can stop the water and air from reaching to soil; fungal problems could occur. You may even be encouraging mice and other vermin to take up residence in the garden.

It would be best to shred the leaves before incorporating them into the soil, but if they are something tough like oak leaves or magnolia leaves, they'd be better if you compost them for several months in the compost pile mixed with other material such as grass clippings, manure, etc. before adding to the garden. Some leaves such as black walnut trees and eucalyptus should not be used in the garden.

You can read information here:
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
Dec 18, 2016 7:23 PM CST
I agree Large leaves don't help, but hurt. Shred, if possible, and compost.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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Dec 20, 2016 6:27 AM CST
I used to do that when I lived in OH, where people bagged leaves and I could bring as many bags home as I wanted to "steal." They would disappear over winter, you could hear worms eating them at night. Like already said, assuming your leaves aren't magnolia or oak, or something from the Juglans genus, things should go well.

If you have too many leaves still in place in the spring, you can rake them into rows or a pile so you can garden your new spot. You should notice quite a difference in the soil under them by spring.
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