No matter which way you use leaves in the garden you are recycling leaves. There are so many ways that you can put leaves to good use in your garden. Let’s get started with one simple idea that delivers lasting glory, a hanging pot garden.
Leaves are an important source of nutrients. You don’t need to apply chemical fertilisers if you put leaves into your garden as you go. Let’s look at how a hanging pot can be built to deliver nutrients to the plants it holds for years. Once you build this pot you can step back and forget about it for quite a while.
Step 1: Choose your pot and the plants
Choose the hanging pot that you like and identify the plants that you want to fill your pot. You might want to create a burst of colour with your favourite annual or create a hanging pot feature that can delight you and your friends and family for years.
If you choose a hanging pot made of natural materials (e.g. coconut fibres) you may wish to line the pot with a plastic bag. If you check out other natural hanging pot options in your local store you might see examples of this. The plastic bag creates a layer that can hold water just like a well. If you line your pot with a plastic bag you don’t need to water your pot as often, which is a time saver. The extra plus is a piece of plastic that would just end up in the bin and landfill is now put to good use!
Step 2: Select your soil
Gather up your soil. You can either choose to buy a bag of potting mix OR you can use healthy soil from your garden. Healthy soil from your own garden is a lot cheaper than buying a bag of dirt.
Healthy soils contain lots of microbes (e.g. bugs and worms). To check your soil health, grab a shovel and make two clean cuts. You can watch how Tim from Get Growing makes two clean cuts in this short Leaf Collective video. If you are checking the health of soil under grass check if your grass roots are 10cm long. If your soil doesn’t contain a heap of bugs and worms it isn’t healthy. You can improve soil health by increasing the amount of organic matter you put onto your soil. Options to improve soil health include leaving lawn clippings and autumn leaves on your grass the next time you mow the lawn and making sure you are composting at home. Composting doesn’t need to take time and you can save a lot of money spent on fertilisers by putting leaves, grass clippings, food waste, paper and much more back into your garden.
Step 3: Gather some leaves
Rake up a pile of leaves OR grab your leaf bag from the storage shed. The leaves will be put to good use in your hanging pot.
Sometimes you simply have too may leaves to put into your pots or garden beds when you are gardening. When you have too many leaves, we suggest storing your leaves in a large cardboard box. This way when you are ready for a pile of brown matter on your compost pile OR in your garden bed you can use both the cardboard and the leaves. Another way you can store leaves is in a leaf tower. There are a heaps of leaf tower ideas that can make storing leaves a real garden feature.
Step 4: Put your hanging pot together
Now it’s time to have fun. Start your pot with a layer of leaves. Aim for each layer to be as wide as 3-4 fingers on your hand. It’s an easy way to see how you can layer up your pot. By putting a layer of leaves into your pot you are placing the nutrients your new plants need to grow right where they are needed. As the leaves get wet they release nutrients to slowly feed your plants. The next layer is a soil layer. And then repeat finishing with a layer of soil to plant your plant into.
The leaf layers in your pot are also very good at holding water. By including leaf layers in between your soil layers, you are creating a layer that is especially good at holding water. Not only are the leaf layers good at holding water they also making sure your plants are getting all the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
Step 5: It’s time to hang your pot and enjoy
This is the best part. Take a photo of your hanging pot and admire your handiwork. When you are ready hang your pot and get ready to enjoy the glory that it brings for time to come. With a little bit of water from time to time your pot is all set to spring to life. You are now all set to sit back and enjoy the glory of your garden.
What is The Leaf Collective?
The Leaf Collective has been created by Canberrans and was built and trailed by Social Marketing @ Griffith. The Leaf Collective is contributing to the prevention of algal blooms in Canberra’s waterways. Since launching the pilot program in 2021 more than 345,000L of leaves have been diverted from storm water drains. The program is supported by the ACT Government.