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We might despair at the work of raking leaves, but they are an amazing resource gardeners can use to the benefit of our gardens and pockets.
Broken down leaves are referred to as leaf mould, as they are acted on mainly by fungi rather than the additional process of heat in a compost heap. Fungi work even in the cooler winter months to turn old piles of leaves into beautiful brown crumbly organic mixture. This medium is great for seedlings or as a soil conditioner in a garden bed or for mixing into the vegetable patch.
Leaves can be left on the ground where they fall, but often this is not practical as they blow around the garden or smother smaller plants underneath.
Throughout Dunedin Botanic Garden leaves are collected and added to compost for future use, but at home leaves can be stored in an area out of the wind or in bags.
If using plastic bags, three-quarters fill them, tie the top and make holes in the sides and bottom and leave for 12 months to turn into a perfect addition for the garden.
- Garden Life is produced by Dunedin Botanic Garden. For further information contact Dylan Norfield.