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With hints of winter around the corner, homesteaders have a lot on their plates. Fortunately, there may be a way to reduce cleanup around the homestead this fall.

If you’re looking around the homestead and noticing pesky piles of leaves, don’t trash them! There are several ways you can put this free, natural resource to work at your homestead. Try these 4 ideas to make use of fallen leaves.


Compost is important if you want a luscious, productive garden. While you should 100% continue composting through the winter, don’t forget to toss those fallen leaves into your compost. They add much-needed green material to your compost, boosting the carbon in your compost as fruit and veggie matter decays.

Don’t forget to turn your compost, too! It’s hard for me to remember these tasks in winter, so I’ve started setting a reminder on my phone.


I’ve been using fallen leaves as a mulch/weed barrier for years and I love it. It’s been particularly effective at guarding our young fruit trees during the winter. This is a perfect way to insulate the ground around your plants and trees before the first frost.

Plus, if you make a weed barrier now, you won’t have as many weeds popping up during early spring. That’s less weed-pulling you’ll need to do later!

Potato storage

I know this sounds weird, but my grandma used to store potatoes for the winter in big piles of leaves. She swears the outside cold and the leaves keep the potatoes good through the winter (and my dad seems to agree with her).

If you grow your own potatoes and don’t want to preserve them, you can try storing them in piles of leaves for the winter. When it’s time to cook supper, simply pull a potato from the potato bin and you’re good to go!

Mow ‘em down

Not in the mood to do any of the above? That’s okay. You can still get rid of those leaves and improve your homestead’s soil by raking and mowing over piles of leaves. This is a faster and more eco-friendly alternative to burning or trashing leaves, too.

Just make sure you check each pile of leaves for animals or objects before you mow!

The bottom line

I know leaves can get annoying in the fall. But you don’t need to waste hours of your time raking and bagging leaves. Instead, put leaves to work on the homestead, letting mother nature do the heavy lifting for you.

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I should have read this article earlier as the fall season is ending now. I didn’t know there are different ways to use the leaves. I will remember that and try to make use of them next time!

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