Don't let fall leaves get you down! One of the very best sources of organic matter is autumn leaves. Leaves are packed with trace minerals that trees draw up from deep in the soil. When added to your garden, leaves feed earthworms and beneficial microbes. They lighten heavy soils and help sandy soils retain moisture. They make an attractive mulch in the flower garden. They're a fabulous source of carbon to balance the nitrogen in your compost pile. And they insulate tender plants from cold. Be sure to chop or shred leaves before using them as mulch. Whole leaves can form a mat that water can't penetrate. Here are a few easy ways to put leaves to work in the yard and garden: shred up as many of them as you can into your lawn -decomposing leaves and grass cover the soil between the individual grass plants where weeds can germinate; put some shredded leaves aside for a month or so to be used for mulching and insulating plants; or, boost your compost pile with this nutrient rich ingredient.