They seem to make a good weed barrier. I also have many but never get to use then as the winds will come and blow them all away. Last year,this did not happen. So come spring, I had to rake up patches of them as nothing would grow thru them. I plan on putting some on the raised beds for the winter. Maybe mulch over them with the neighbors sheep manure and my rabbit manure. It will be nice come spring. I'd try it, if I was you.
My experience has been that leaves piled up in the area where I want to plant cause too much cold soil and moisture that has to be dried out beforehand. Hard to start early vegetables. I pile mine up in the corner, then when things are planted and cultivated a couple of times, I spread the leaves in the row middles, or in the beds, to hold back weeds and conserve moisture--plus give added biomass.
I tried that in Ga. and the soil was too wet to plant and work. The best thing to do is mulch them up with the lawn mower and pile them up to put in the garden between the rows after your stuff comes up.
Maple leaves seem to break down more easily if they are chopped with the mower. I filled a raised bed that was losing depth, watered it, covered it with an old tarp. The leaves were still leaves come spring. I was able to turn them under and plant in there, but I think it would have been less total work to chop, then put on the bed. At my current location, there are so many maple trees, I'm mulching some into the lawn, mulching and moving some into the garden, and bagging a bunch more, which I will leave stacked for a year or two clhibaggigI
Leaves enourage slugs. I had bad things happen when I mulched my strawberries with chopped leaves. I mow them up and put them on an area where I won't be planting early. If possible, I till them in this fall.
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