Garden Talk: November Garden Chores

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Heard On Garden Talk
autumn leaves on the ground
Photo: blmiers/Flickr (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Don’t toss out those autumn leaves just yet! This week on Garden Talk, we’ll find out how to reuse the fallen leaves in our yard and garden. Plus, our garden expert shares some November chores we should be sure to cross off our “To Do” list.

Featured in this Show

  • Gardening Expert: Don't Kick Those Leaves To Curb

    Most of the autumn leaves are on the ground and ready for the last pickup of the year, but one Wisconsin horticulture expert advises not to be so quick to kick those leaves to the curb.

    “I’m noticing all the leaves on the edge of the street and I’m going, ‘No, no, no! Don’t throw those away!” said Barbara Larson, who serves as University of Wisconsin-Extension’s horticulture educator for Kenosha County.

    Larson said just because leaves are off the trees doesn’t mean their usefulness is depleted. She recommends raking leaves back into gardens as mulch, which she says is especially beneficial for perennials.

    In order to turn those leaves into mulch, it’s important to break them down just a bit.

    “Run the mower over the leaves, as long as you don’t have huge amounts,” Larson said.

    After mowing over the grass and leaves, Larson recommended putting the cuttings into a bag to create a nice mix of green and brown materials. That mixture will kickstart a compost pile for the next growing season, she said.

    Before putting the garden to bed for the year, Larson urged gardeners to take advantage of the opportunity to do soil testing — she said that fall is “the perfect time” to do it. Soil samples can be sent to the UW Soil Testing Laboratories, which will send back results with specific recommendations on how to treat the soil for a successful growing season next year.

    “Make sure to tell the soils lab what you’re growing in that spot, because they’ll base their recommendation on that,” said Larson.

    Larson said soil testing should be done every five years.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Cynthia Schuster Producer
  • Barb Larson Guest

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