Tilling the garden?

Asked October 26, 2016, 12:57 AM EDT

I have lots of fallen leaves that are very dry and well shredded, is it OK to till them directly into the garden soil? This is the end of my third year trying to amend my considerably clay based soil with composted organic matter. I have been reasonably successful and I am hoping for an additional improvement next year. I am considering covering my 20' X 24' plot with a tarp over the winter in hopes of eliminating or at least reducing the vine type weeds that wrap around everything in sight. Is this good approach?
Tim Radley

Arapahoe County Colorado

1 Response

Tim, you are really going the in right direction! Tilling leaves into the soil will add nutrients as microbes begin to break them down. And the organic material will help clay with macro (large) and micro (small) pores, so water will flow through the clay. Covering your soil may not help, however. Consider planting a cover crop such as crimson clover, that helps protect your soil from rain/snow/ice compaction AND adds nitrogen (that next year's plants can use). Cover crops also cut down on invasive weeds. Good luck!