Whole leaves in raised garden bed?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by jennyf, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello, I'm usually on the chicken forum, my first time here! I have tons of fall leaves on the ground and no mower or mulcher to shred them. Can I bury whole leaves in a raised garden bed? I'm reading conflicting information about whether they will break down by spring OR kill plants when they form an impenetrable barrier. Bed is mostly used for tomatoes and beans. I could bury them around the perimeter where they wouldn't have plant contact if that would be better than in the middle where they would. Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
  2. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    They will break down, it will just take longer (a lot longer).

    Why not dump them into the chicken run and let them mulch them for you? They will love scratching through them for bugs and will even augment their nutritional value in appreciation. [​IMG]

    My run was actually built on the mulched remains six mature oak trees worth of leaves. But even mulched and sitting exposed to the elements for two years they were still not brioken down when I raked them all into a level area. However after just a few weeks under the feet of the four chickens I had at the time it was al reduced to a fine soil.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
  3. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2016
    Missouri
    Ohhhhh they are hopping and scratching through leaf piles that are deeper than chicken high right now! :) I have more!
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Jenny, I put whole leaves on my garden. Have to bring them in from outside source. I simply toss them in, but don't have a lot available. One year, I had a glut of leaves, and this is what I did: I placed them in a huge pile, and inoculated them with a high nitrogen fertilizer. I used urea, which is 46% nitrogen. As I piled the leaves, I shoveled a bit of soil on them, then topped off with some urea and saturated the pile with water. Or you can dissolve the urea/fertilizer in water, and soak the pile as you build it. Be careful, a little bit of urea goes a long way! I then covered with clear plastic to take advantage of what ever solar gain there was. This method produced some good break down by spring. Be sure to bury the edges of the plastic, and weight it down so the wind doesn't send it sailing. Then, you can disperse the pile, and depending on the break down, you can incorporate them into your beds several weeks before planting, use them to mulch around your plants once they are up, or simply use them in the paths between the rows/beds, The rain will still leach nutrients out of the surface leaves and down to the root zones.
     

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