Wow! What a strange weather year it’s been! All that dry time followed by rain and cold – it finally feels like winter!

I have been trying to collect leaves out of my beds to use as an amendment in the vegetable garden in the spring. Decomposed leaves are great for beds because they loosen the soil and provide food for earthworms. The worms break the leaves down in to nutrients for the plants in your beds. It’s a great system!

Also, I like to get the leaves out in the fall so I don’t have that chore later – It just doesn’t seem right raking leaves in the spring. And leaves in the wrong place can kill grass and smother other plants if they are too thick. Better to collect them and use them where you want them. A wire bin tucked away in the corner of your yard is a great place to overwinter your leaves. By spring they have broken down into a usable amendment that can be put in all of your beds – especially if turned a couple of times. Just be aware that they break down quite a bit, so if you’re hoping to cover all of your beds you might want to use your neighbors’ leaves, too! Oak leaves break down more slowly and may actually take 2 years to become usable in your gardens, but your plants will love them!

Enjoy the cold weather by sitting by a warm fire with a good gardening book. Dream about spring and daffodils!