Autumn after autumn, I’ve gazed longingly at the fallen leaves from our three hardwood trees, knowing what excellent mulch they would make if I could only shred enough by hand without going bonkers or developing carpal tunnel.
The problem is you can’t just throw large chunks of organic matter into your garden without kickstarting the decomposition process first. If you mix a big pile of intact leaves into the soil, naughty microbes will steal nitrogen from plant roots to aid with the leaves’ decomposition. So your plants will actually look and feel less healthy for a couple of months. Not to mention whole leaves can form an impenetrable mat that won’t let water through.
Hubby and I don’t usually like — or have the room to store — fancy electrical garden gadgets, but our vegetable beds and soon-to-be-planted fruit orchard are going to need more and more mulch. We’d rather make our own instead of having it trucked in from the store, so during our Pact Free time in November, we decided to buy the Worx WG500 Blower/Mulcher/Vacuum. Or as I prefer to call it, The Mulchinator.
This thing literally crunches ten bags of leaves down to one bag of finely-shredded goodness. Now we can use the leaves in our garden beds without worry, knowing they will add potassium and phosphorous while helping the soil’s infiltration, drainage and water-holding capacity. And we’re hoping that the neighbors will let us suck up their leaves as well. Everyone’s yards will look shiny, and maybe we’ll take a little bite out of the yard waste that makes up 20% of landfills.
Be sure to listen to this next time you’re gathering fallen leaves…