Last fall we (meaning me - Jason and Liza could have cared less) decided that instead of throwing out our leaves, we would instead use them as the foundation for a bunch of new lasagna gardens (http://organicgardening.about.com/od/startinganorganicgarden/a/lasagnagarden.htm). What began as a billion cubic feet of shredded leaves and grass (plus a bag of compost starter, a bunch of half-finished kitchen compost, and a bunch of earthworms we dug up in the spring) turned into more than 100 square feet of new gardens in the back yard. We planted some this spring, and left the rest to ripen a bit (some piles were heavy on the not-so-shredded leaves). Here it is after a year - 3" of perfect crumbly humus, ready to go.
I bring this up now because it's leaf season again, so I can show you the before and after shots all at once. Here's this year's lasagna bed, about 18" deep in shredded leaves and waiting for the last go-round with the rakes and law mower.
And here's last year's bed for comparison. It's a bit shorter, huh?
What, don't you recognize this volunteer? It's the rare "native to Ohio, no really it's not a tropical plant" avocado tree. I've been growing one in a pot inside for months, and this one looks healthier. See, I told you I was doing something right with the compost!