Here came the lazy part: I gave up and left them in the garden.
I had to add a lot of amendment to the soil last year, since it was grass the year before. Thinking ahead for this year, I actually swept all of the remaining leaves from November onwards back into my garden and slightly worked them in. This is a natural form of mulch and since November, much of it is decomposing already. And there I was mid-October - getting rid of them!
Hopefully I've done right and that my soil will have large organic bits of matter that will deter slugs, will be porous to retain water and will decay well enough so I don't need to add any organic manure or store bought amendments. It's a bit messy, not the greatest view, but hopefully my perennials, bulbs and veggies will be happy. We will see!
NOTE: I caution doing this if you have leaves that are infected with powdery mildew, blight and other fungal infections. These leaves had NO evidence of disease. If you do have leaves that are not healthy, dispose of them. Allowing them to compost in your garden may re-infest the host. It's not worth bringing more trouble to your garden.
|Leaves are already breaking down|
It great to see that they're already composting - it's only February!
|Black and Decker LeafHog|
If you have larger leaves from trees in your garden, you can still employ this idea. I've used great blower/mulchers like this one. It has a vacuum which sucks up the leaves, grinding up several bags worth into one bag of mulch.
Another method is to gather a small pile of leaves over your lawn. With a mulching lawn mower, mow over the pile (just not a pile mounded too high). Cris-cross, mowing more than once over the pile and you'll get a great source of mulch for perennial beds, under shrubs or material ready for the composter.
Try it next fall!