Fall Maple Leaves

greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

I've been outside raking all morning long since the sun came up. The air is crisp, the sun is muted from overcast clouds and the slight breeze smells like pure clean soil since it is damp from all the overnight frost/dew which is all over the ground every morning.

But to me, all I see is wonderful "browns " for my compost piles all summer long next year.

I live on a few acres and it is full of old large maple trees and lots of eastern pines. So every Fall I'm supplied with tons of leaves (great nitrogen fixers) and lots of pine needles (great for the acidic-loving plants). So raking, usually twice a week, is a must so the volume of leaves doesn't get ahead of me.

But somehow I just don't see it as work because I truly do enjoy it getting out there and letting all my senses enjoy the look/feel/smell and the antics of my cats plowing their way thru all my piles.

Don't let anyone ever tell you cats don't enjoy playing in piles of leaves like a dog. While dogs generally jump and roll on the top... cats build there own transportation system thru the bottom of each pile.

Oh, did you know, having a house full of pets means pharmaceuticals just aren't needed for high blood pressure. After all, just the enjoyment, love and devotion they give you daily is pretty much all the body needs to heal itself.


  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    So right you are, I am so enjoying my "farm kittens" antics, those falling leaves MUST be subdued. @greyfurball Also the smiles and laughter from the comical entertainment eliminate any need for an anxiety pharmaceutical.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    I always love when I go to a new physician and the first thing out of their mouth is why aren't you on anti-depressents? Have you ever been? And when I say no, it's always "why not"? And my answer is because I'm not depressed. And then that conversation continues going nowhere...

    @merlin44 sometimes I just wish non-pet owners could have just a few days of the socialization of a beloved pet(s) and they could see just what they are missing. The unfortunate part of that scenario though is if we'd hand them the pet for a few days, the animal would be so confused they wouldn't showcase their normal personality.

    Oh well, us pet owners definitely know a pet is not an animal in the family it truly becomes another MEMBER of the family. And you would never give away your kids would you (although there is days that sounds like a good idea too)?

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball - Great post you wrote re Autumn leaves gathering 🙂 Agree wholeheartedly. - As last week I too gathered 16+ big bags of leaves (at work where all pets are required to be on a leash, sigh). Aww I bet they would Enjoy playing Free for a bit; - so instead I invited some little kids to come join & we played in the leaves... - Then their parents asked : Wait, you're not a tiny tot anymore, yet you fit right in with the little ones. You've been at it for days now, & never act tired, or achy - How can you keep that up? and I answered: Well, it's actually easy, See I ... and then explained how.

    Now Re the "leaves as nitrogen-fixers": can I use some on the perimeter ? inside pots... as I transplant into bigger pots. - Would this keep any such plants extra-free in terms of freeze-Protection ?

    Asking as can't get Straw this year; so mainly have wood chips, & a ton of wonderful leaves

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow Glad you are getting the chance to enjoy the outdoors also. This time of year is so wonderful and yet people and their children all contain themselves indoors and miss out on all the free fun available in their lives. As you say... then I have to explain how (they can prevent stagnation in their life.)

    As for the leaves, at first I thought you were asking about indoor plants for their protection but when you said Freeze I assume you mean outdoor plants on the perimeter which you have in pots.

    So my take on this, if the plants are truly outdoors, chop the leaves up and go for it! I say chop first because first they won't mat down over the winter and suffocate the roots or end up as the home of a bunch of bugs you don't want as houseguests and #2 if they are chopped into small pieces they will start breaking down over winter and adding nutrients to your soil.

    If it's a larger plant in a big pot if you have some of those wire tomato cages poke one in each pot and then add the leaves to the bottom of the cage around the dirt line. If it's a windy area wrap the bottom of the cage with a clear trash bag slid down over the top (cut an air hole in the top of the bag) and this will help to protect your plant also. If you don't have tomato cages get all those trees to supply you with some relatively sturdy sticks and just poke them into your pot and then add the cover for wind protection.

    This way every one of your plants should easily survive the winter.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @greyfurball - okay I've tried in past 2 days to respond to your comments but there's a little wheel that goes round on the screen, but it does not copy the section I was trying to get clarification on, so I will try it this way:

    I asked: " can I use leaves on the perimeter ? inside pots... as I transplant into bigger pots. - Would this keep any such plants extra-free in terms of freeze-Protection ? " - iow What I was trying to get Answered is >>How thick in inches? does the layer of leaves need to be between each plant AND the pot perimeter in order to provide freeze-Protection (which btw is already too late (tears... yet again..) for all too many plants here)

    You said: " So my take on this, if the plants are truly outdoors, chop the leaves up and go for it ! " -um,

    1.re IF - How could I possibly store like 24+ 'potted food-Forest plants' inside the house ?? - even with only minimal Basic furniture there's not enough room. Which btw way I already tried with a few & they did not survive, but for different reason.

    And last year I tried STRAW with some sitting against the SOUTH-side of the house, - but I can't get Straw this year. - And AGAIN that left far too many on the West side rather unprotected (incldg. from that damn 'smart'-meter), ---- iow EVERY single year I have to get MORE plants from people in the now-vain HOPE of actually getting them planted.


    2.What do you mean by chop Up the leaves. as in a Shredder ?, or a Mower ?, or with a knife OR scissors by HAND ? ---> Sixteen + HUGE bags of leaves... (since two of our Mowers were stolen, I have been "mowing" 4000 sq.ft. with a weedEater until two years ago, when I asked God to "please grow some other plants that could possibly be used as HERBS" that now I am trying to get ID'd). -

    And the neighbors don't have bags on their mowers. Aside which they think that I am beyond 'crazy' to try & Manage all 4 garden areas Alone, with No mechanized tools, & still working to pay Basic bills (Note to self: missed the 1/2 Off shoe sale at Value Village, yet again, but 10 miles away), & No one to help me with any Garden tasks. For starters for like digging 14+inch holes for 30++ Baby bushes & trees.

    So now that you have more Context... from which I asked this question: >>How thick in inches? does the layer of leaves need to be between each plant AND the pot perimeter in order to provide freeze-Protection? - what is the Answer ?, please.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow good yes now I have a little more info so I can answer your questions...

    1. 24 pots huh...that's a lot and too time consuming to do every pot one at time. Are all of these pots in one circular area or like in one long continuous row? If so, here's the easiest way. Again, get sticks/stakes and put one in each pot if your pots are in a big circle. Place the stake on the outside edge of the circle but still in that pot. Now wrap the entire area with plastic (you can use painter drop cloths (they are a buck a piece at dollar stores) or if you happen to have onelong continuous roll of plastic/burlap/ something like that then use that. Now don't even worry about shredding the leaves, just throw them inside your circle and fill it up. You've now made frost protection for all winter.
    2. If it's one long continuous row you need two stakes per pot, one stake each side and wrap and then throw leaves in to fill up your contained area. When I am doing a large area like this I don't worry about doing the base of each plant. I just throw leaves in and let them settle where they fall. So yes some will end up in the pots, some end up on the driveway/yard or whatever your pots are sitting on.
    3. I also clamp the plastic at the top to each stake so it protects from the wind. If your stakes are skinny use clothespins. Or just tie it on with twine or ribbon or yarn. I happen to have a lot of binder clips, the kind which hold a stack of papers together, so I use that.
    4. As for the chopping, yes you guessed them all. I happen to have a shredder but I don't say it because most people don't. Before I got my shredder I always used the lawn mower.
    5. Inches?... remember you don't have to cover the entire plant. It is the root ball you are trying to protect. When I throw my leaves into my wrapped circle (on this type of setup I am using whole leaves) I just throw them in until it is about 12" deep. But remember the first time it rains or snows that all settles down to just a few inches and that's fine. If you are doing individual plants with the leaves all chopped up you will have to add the leaves and then check it again after the first rain to see if you might need some more depth. But again, add some leaf protection all around the base and up maybe to 4-6". All you must worry about is protecting the roots. If you did add the plastic "coat" around the plant the plastic is giving the plant wind protection anyway.

    Hope this helps!

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow and then that little wheel you mentioned means your computer is still loading the page you are trying to get on. Sometimes the loading process gets stuck and you will wait forever. If that seems to be happening I usually give it a minute and if it has not loaded by then click your "stop loading page" button and then click your "reload this page" button. The whole process will start again. You can generally tell how fast your machine usually works since you use it all the time. If the second try seems to be going much longer than normal there is a problem then usually with your internet supplier. It could be weather related, or maybe they have run into a high traffic pattern-in other words too many people are trying to do something on their computer all of you at the same time. There's all kinds of reasons but you have no control over any of them. So if that little wheel keeps going the second try just forget it you aren't going to get it to load at that time.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you @greyfurball for explaining that puter-wheel thing, as it happens with regularity trying to Quote here, tho not with other places I frequent like U-tube, Science sites, etc. - Are you more or less a computer expert ?, as have some other questions you might be able to help with. Tho most likely not in this FALL-LEAF discussion, lol

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi again ~ had to find a photo sans Full-grown summer plants obscuring the space I am trying to fit as many plants in as I can for safe overwintering : (this was taken 1st.wk in June), & what you see is 1/2+ of

    our South-side where our Veggie-garden lives. I built the six boxes (3+ can be seen) three years ago, but

    Plan to move them to the West where our food-Forest is started, & then Transplant most herbs into these boxes. Why? because they will sit/rest on top of Electrical lines that we can't have bushes & Trees growing on top of. This HERBal parade will cut thru the Forest, but the power-company never asks for anyone's needs.

    Now the little ladder on the left shows how Wide the space is that I used last year to safely overwinter 14 plants in pots by encircling them & covering them with Straw (I can't get this year), so I thought of using a TON of leaves... as the "pots sit SNUG against this South-wall, & tiny window by ladder is Kitchen, & bath window to the right of that. iow it's the warmest part of the house (all but 1 room in our house is otherwise Not heated). -- So from what you said, I could use these pictured 2by2 garden-stakes, & the 8+ Tomato-cages we have, & with Twine tie it all together to create a SNUG-home for as many plants as possible. There's like 24 to 46 pots. Yippee

    Now our shed sits SW of that photo (not seen) But there's 1 tiny complication: as the Space between the shed & the House is just large enough, when we get those Ferocious, (fortunately seldom but WINDS are BAD when they rip thru there), anything standing other than the stakes that I hold together with rocks wedged tight into those cement blocks you see, is totally Shredded apart. How would I know ? - I have tried 1 trick after another.

    So re the Strength of dollar-Tree CLEAR plastic to use as a temporary green-house, & how to Secure all parts together, can you help me figger that out @greyfurball please.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 916 ✭✭✭✭

    I’ve been raking autumn leaves and putting them into the compost area for next seasons planting. We even put the old ash from the wood stove on top of the leaves. Layers of compost strengthening a pile for next years plantings.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow with the setup you have there it will be easy for you to winterize.

    Place a stake against your wall, in the front corner of each box, keep adding stakes about every 3 to 4 feet along the front edge of your box until you get to the end, add another stake at the opposite end front corner, and the last stake is against the wall on the other end. Now wrap that whole staked area with whatever you can find to wrap it with. You will only need it on the two sides and the whole front.

    As for the painter's drop cloth, yes it is very thin but you don't need it flattened out. The drop cloths are always a 9X12 foot piece of plastic. Keep the 12 foot length for your horizontal wrap and unfold the 9 foot length so it is only 3 foot wide. So then just attach the 3 foot section to your posts at the top of every pole. And the front stakes will have to be placed so that your 12' always ends near a stake so you can attach it to your pole also. So along the front you will have one piece of plastic that ends at a pole and another piece which starts at that pole. In others words you just attached the end and the beginning of another piece to the same pole. Everything now has plastic around it so add a few more clips to each pole like in the middle and bottom of pole to keep the plastic in place. Go ahead and throw in the leaves to about the 12" depth and you're done.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow as for your computer question go ahead and ask and if I know I'll tell you.

    For the business I had it's own website and I did all the work and maintenance so I did pickup a lot of knowledge what is going on with these machines. Then when I got stuck I just headed to a local computer repair shop and told him it was now his and see if he could figure out what's going wrong.

    So I can't promise an answer but I might know.