By Guest Contributor Judith Campbell of the Earth Care Committee

Have you considered what might be the most environmentally friendly way to deal with the fallen leaves in your yard? 

 The short answer: keep your leaves!  You will make a positive difference environmentally. 

 Mulch your leaves and spread them on your flowerbeds, around bushes, underneath hedges, or in your raised bed.  This is the most sustainable way to deal with all those leaves in your yard. 

The benefits of keeping your leaves are many. 

When you spread leaves over your flower beds or vegetable beds you create a layer of mulch and you are giving next year’s plants nutrition.  Through the winter you are insulating your plants. And as leaves decompose they release nutrients into the soil.  Imagine not needing to fertilize next year.  Within a year all of those leaves will have broken down and become soil. 

In addition, you will help many insects, including bumble bees, butterflies and fireflies.  The mulched leaf cover that we lay down in the fall allows insects to hibernate and their eggs to winter over.  In fact, you might see an increase in fireflies next June because you left your leaves in your garden.  Additionally more birds will visit your garden because they will find the insects (aka the food) they need.  

Nature provides what it needs, and fallen leaves are part of that life cycle. 

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