What to do with Fall Leaves

Disposing of your leaves by burning or throwing in the garbage are considered inorganic and harmful to the environment. The less we burn and throw away, the greener our planet will be. It’s all about reducing and reusing! Check out these alternatives to getting rid of fall leaves along with some fun crafts and activities. 

Create a compost
Adding your leaves to a compost bin is a great way to turn them into helpful garden nutrients. Leaves will decompose slowly within a compost bin, but there are ways to speed up the process. For instance, it is best to only add dry leaves. For optimal decomposing speeds, first mow over your leaf pile with a mulching mower to shred them. 

Use as mulch
Cover your bare garden soil or cool season vegetables with leaves to protect them from harsh winter weather. Leaves use up nitrogen from your soil, which makes it important to add an organic source of nitrogen to your soil before adding them. For optimal winter soil protection in flower beds, add a layer of shredded leaves to your bare soil, then apply a layer of bark mulch. Make sure the total mulch depth is 4 inches or less.

Return leaves to the lawn
Mulched leaves are decomposed by earthworms and microorganisms. They turn the mulched leaves into plant usable organic matter. Besides, it's better to leave them on site than send them to a land fill.

Fall leaves can make great art pieces and kid projects. Here is a list of ideas:

1. Framed Leaves: Choose your favorite leaves from your yard and place them between two pieces of glass in a frame. The glass will hold the leaves flat. This will not only preserve them, but it will also make great wall art for less. 

2. Leaf Wreath: Create a gorgeous fall wreath with leaves, pinecones, and fall flowers. It won’t last forever, but it will be the perfect door decoration for the season. Make it a family tradition to go on a nature walk, gather leaves and pinecones, and make a fall wreath with your findings. 

3. Leaf Monogram: If a wreath isn’t up your alley, you can purchase a wooden letter from a craft store and modge podge leaves onto the face of it. Hang this on your door for your own monogrammed home! 

4. Leaf Stamps: Find your favorite leaf shapes and place them under a heavy book until they are flat. Grab some paper, boxes, canvas, material, etc and paint. Make your leaves into stamps and let your kids make colorful fall art. This could be hung on your wall for the season or given as a gift. 

5. Leaf Decor: Modge Podge is becoming more and more popular. Modge Podging leaves to items such as vases, plates, canvas, candles, guards, pumpkins, jars, wood, or anything else you can think of can make great centerpieces and decorations. Another benefit to Modge Podging is that It will make your leaves last for a very long time. 

6. Leaf Science Projects:There are many science experiments out there involving fall leaves. Teach your children about photosynthesis or why leaves change color. Sometimes learning can be fun too!