Well, the snow has well and truly beaten me in the race to tidy the garden for the winter, but should I be that bothered, or can my leaf rake be consigned to the back of the cupboard with the iron (I gave up ironing a few years ago, and it was so good!!). A friend of mine reading my blog commented that she’d seen some very interesting time lapse footage of worms eating leaves, and it gave me something to investigate, and to wonder whether I have anything to gain by doing it for hours, except a tidier lawn….which isn’t even my main reason for doing it.
It turns out many of us have succumbed to the myth that the fallen leaves will kill off our grass. Yes, OK, great drifts of them aren’t perhaps the best treatment for lawns, but whilst I have an abundance, and don’t really have drifts of them. Mulching the ground with decaying leaves helps feed the soil, and by raking them up we are instead removing important nutrients, which we then seem to go out and buy in bottle version when spring arrives and we want to grow things. As well as nutrients, the leaves serve a whole heap of other purposes; they provide food, shelter, nesting, and bedding supplies for wildlife. They give insects protection in winter which in turn are doing their own important jobs for you in your garden. By not raking them and driving them to the tip, you are decreasing waste (that’s if, like me, you can’t start a fire outside for toffee so that’s the only way you can get rid of them). Earthworms feed on the leaves, amongst other decaying matter, and turn them back into soil again.
So, we have had a few leafy snowmen today, and yes my garden may not look pristine, but I will have more time back to run around after children, and from now on the only raking I will be doing is into piles purposefully made for jumping into!!