Raking it in

raking up leaves

So for the last couple of days I have been amusing the cows (at least the ones that are left – the young Holsteins seem to have disappeared, hopefully to their winter quarters rather than the great burger bar in the sky) by raking up the leaves in the garden and bagging them up to make leafmould, one of the easiest gardening tricks in the world.*

Clearing leaves, especially when you have as much gravel to maintain as we do, is one of those activities that can quickly evolve into the sort of insanity that starts with buying a leaf blower (get thee behind me) and ends with declaring holy war against all trees (I discovered when I was a volunteer tree warden many moons ago that there is a section of British society that regards trees with the same fear and loathing that other sections of society – perhaps, indeed, there is some overlap – reserve for cyclists). I’m hoping that by thinking of it more as ‘gathering leaves to make leaf mould’ rather than ‘achieving a miraculously leaf free garden’ I shall escape this fate, just as weeding only ever feels like a worthwhile activity once you have let go of the idea that you might ever rid the garden of weeds and rebranded it as ‘filling the compost bin’.

leaves still to fall

Put that way, the fact that there are still many more leaves to fall and I already have three full bags feels like a bonus. Although I have missed a trick in not getting some of these

* The instructions (rake up leaves, put in bin bags, forget about them for a year or so, open up and hey presto, leafmould) exactly describes what I would do if I wasn’t making leafmould but was just tidying up and then losing interest in the project half way through. The fact that it then happens to be magic stuff for putting on your plants and improving your soil is just pure jam, really.


4 Responses to Raking it in

  1. Find Your Gap says:

    Our leaf blower, when set to suck, nicely chews up the leaves in the process and so the result takes up less space and actually makes much better leaf mould …


  2. Paul M says:

    We have this enormous, and incredibly noisy machine (American, natch) called a “Billygoat” which also chops up leaves and it’s true they compact more and rot more quickly.

    We only discovered there was more to it when we stumbled on bags of leaves we had collected a couple of years earlier and forgotten about, we now have a bit of a production line going.

  3. Ollyver says:

    A hilarious post from start to finish. Thanks for writing this blog!

  4. disgruntled says:

    The real reason why I don’t like the leaf blowers is the noise – I can see how they are useful, but I like to garden with the radio on …

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