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Recently raked my lawn and thought maybe to toss a garbage can size or two into a 10x16 established garden soil. I have a tiller and thinking the leaves and dead straw grass might help my soil from compacting later into the growing season. I read some don't recommend it because of the possibility spreading fungus and disease into gardens. But read else where that it is okay to use leaves even old dead vines of tomato plants from last season,so long as it is tilled into the soil.. Any thoughts appreciated.
It's better to use shredded leaves or leaf mold in the garden. Leaves can take a long time to decompose in garden soil. If you do till your leaves in add some aged manure or compost to speed up the process.
Best melons and tomatoes & more I ever had were planted over 18" deep x 12" wide trenches filled in fall with a mixture of shredded leaves (LOTS of 'em....), chopped up stuff from garden/yard clean-up, kitchen scraps, with some peat moss and soil mixed in (used a couple 32gal trash cans to mix) with last 2-3" of soil plus soil mounded about 4" higher than surrounded area. In Spring we 'forked' the contents of the trenches, tamped the material down, added a compost/soil mixture mounded to 4" higher than surrounding area and planted at appropriate times. Best tasting, most prolific harvest I'd gotten in that garden even after several years of constantly improving the soil!
Just wish I could do the same where I live now -- landlord won't allow veggies in ground. Still do compost (in a covered trash can with LOTS of drain & aeration holes drilled into it) & use that mixed about 50/50 with old pot soil for bottom 6" of when re-planting pots -- still great veggies and herbs :)