Leaves in Vegetable Garden

mjnoahNovember 6, 2010

I have spread a couple inches of leaves over the vegetable garden. They have some grass in them that is already decomposed and the leaves have been through a mower. Is it better to get them incorporated into the soil now or just let lay on top to decompose? Unless they are in a pile it seems decomposition might be slower spread out over the garden bed.


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Also, I was thinking of spreading some blood meal over them to help in decomposition.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 12:36PM
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One more thing, the ground was plowed to break up hard pan. Is it still a good idea to incorporate the leaves after having been plowed once? Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 3:11PM
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eaglesgarden(6b - se PA)

This could go either way. I've done both, and don't know if there is a preferred method. Putting the leaves down (as long as they are moistened when put in place to keep them from blowing away) on top is an EASY solution. You can always till them in come spring. OR, you can plow them in now, and the worms will have better access to them during the winter months, if it doesn't get too cold. You will probably till again in the spring, so this would cause you double work.

Personally, I don't know that there really is any benefit to plowing them in now, but I don't think there is any harm either.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 4:50PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

If by plowing in, it means putting them down several inches deep, I think it is better to keep them in the top 3 inches.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 6:53PM
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I incorporate the leaves based on this information sheet.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 7:12PM
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If you leave those leaves on your soil as a mulch they will aid in 1) suppressing "weed" growth, 2) retaining soil moisture levels, 3) and allow the soil bacteria ti incorporate them in to your soil better than you can by tilling them in.
If you till those leaves into your soil you can stir up more "weed" seeds and possibly disturb the Soil Food Web enough that it will set them back several months. Tilling is a lot of unnecessary work.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 6:56AM
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I say leave 'em where they lie. Worms, fungus and microbes are very capable of getting at them from the surface.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 6:15PM
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I would be very careful about adding too much blood meal. It is extremely high in nitrogen, which is good for leaf development, but can seriously inhibit fruit set, particularly in tomatoes. You will end up with a garden that looks great but produces little. A little nitrogen goes a long way. Better to get compost into the soil which is well balanced....IMHO. ;)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 7:40PM
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