It's not much fun - that's why you avoided doing it last fall - but it pays to remove garden
debris that can harbor insects and diseases to attack this years garden. Run leaves, sticks and
plant stems through a shredder and add to the compost pile. If the pile heats up well (as much
as 170 degrees), most of the insects, weeds and diseases should be eliminated.
If you don't compost, use debris as mulch on unrelated plants. For example, don't put tomato
debris back around tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes. It should be fine around
You don't even need a grinder. Simply rake plant debris into rows and run a mulching lawn mower
over it several times. This is also a great way to recycle leaves into the landscape as mulch.