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Good Gardening: Miracle Leaves

John Fischer

Would you be interested in a garden product that adds fertility to you soil, saves water, and cuts down on weeding-- all while helping the environment?
  Then you're ready for Miracle Leaves.

  John- this is NPR.  Can we tone it down a bit.

  Hi, I'm Master Gardener John Fischer with KLCC's Good Gardening.
Whether you get leaves from your yard, from your neighbors, or, in Eugene, from the city's free delivery service, get them while they're cold- and wet.  That way you'll have them when it's warm and dry.
  A true leaficianado has three piles- this falls, one year old leaves, and two year old leaves.  By giving the pile a year or two to age, that slimy mat of fresh leaves will turn into a sweet smelling, soft crumbly organic gardeners dream.  Working  "leaf-mold" into your soil in spring will add the all important organic matter that helps build soil health and "tilth"- a measure of workability.
  Leaves that you stockpile during the wet season make a great water saving mulch to put around your summer garden vegetables.  And even the toughest weeds will have trouble poking through a thick layer of newer leaves you put around your tomatoes.

Credit John Fischer

Now here's where helping the environment comes in.  Currently, in most urban areas, homeowners put their leaves out on the street, and the city picks them up.  From there they go to a central composting facility, or storage area where residents can purchase the compost, or pick up a load of stockpiled leaves.
  It's possible that leaves you put out on the street in the fall traveled twenty miles or more before ending up back in your yard- and you may have even paid to get them back.
   So the first lesson of leaves is to keep what you have. The second lesson is go get your neighbors leaves- with their permission of course.  I've been doing my neighbors a "favor" for years by "letting" them bring their fall leaves to my backyard.
  If you want more leaves than you can accumulate, the city of Eugene will deliver them within city limits for free.  Minimum is one dump truck full.  Google "Eugene leaf delivery form" for details.
  Almost anything that came off a tree is a good thing to put on or in your garden soil.  That include walnut leaves and pine needles.  But a mixture of aged material is best.
  So keep what your trees deliver in the fall because they're not just leaves, they're Miracle Leaves.

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