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From:Date:Zone:
Wilma13-Oct-02 11:16 PM EST 5a   
Wilma13-Oct-02 11:16 PM EST 5a   
Susan14-Oct-02 03:45 PM EST 6a   


Subject: leaves in the vegie garden
From: Wilma (leducfamily@sympatico.ca)
Zone: 5a
Date: 13-Oct-02 11:16 PM EST

Is there such a thing as too many leaves to be tilled into gardens. Do certain types add too much nitrogen


Subject: leaves in the vegie garden
From: Wilma (leducfamily@sympatico.ca)
Zone: 5a
Date: 13-Oct-02 11:16 PM EST

Is there such a thing as too many leaves to be tilled into gardens. Do certain types add too much nitrogen


Subject: RE: leaves in the vegie garden
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 14-Oct-02 03:45 PM EST

Offhand, I can't think of a reason why you would be limited in tilling leaves into the garden... You don't say what kind of soil you have, but they would certainly be beneficial for clay or sandy soils in particular as both those soils are much improved by additions of organic matter. The only leaves that quickly come to mind to avoid are walnut leaves if you have a walnut tree nearby - walnuts are one of the trees that put out a chemical (juglone) that can be fatal to a lot of other plants. Norway Maple leaves are very (!) slow to breakdown and, if possible, should be shredded before adding to the soil. Oak leaves are also slow to break down but don't mat like Norway Maple leaves do. Oak leaves tend to be a bit acidic on breakdown - that can be good if you want the soil to be on the acid side... Pine needles are slow to break down but are good at improving drainage as they form a nice, open matrix. They are generall beleived to increase soil acidity as well but some sources say the effect is more neutral... Since leaves are probably slower to breakdown that moister things (such as kitchen compostables...) I very much doubt that tilling in leaves would result in levels of nitrogen that would be worrisome. At our previous house, we annually tilled in all the leaves from two large Norway Maples into our 20x20' veggie garden and certainly never noticed any problems indicating nitrogen overload. Here, we have lots of leaves and pine needles but no veggie garden as we don't have a large enough sunny spot, so the leaves and needles become a natural mulch in my woodland garden.


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