Fall Garden Cleanup

Fall Garden Cleanup

I’ve been taking advantage of the decent weather in Chicago to do some garden cleanup. Having your typical postage-sized urban garden makes the cleaning up of the garden easy, but it comes with its unique set of complications. Besides the dying plant stems, fallen leaves and weeds, I often have to contend with a lot of trash. People feel like they can toss garbage into the yard and then there’s the trash that overflows from the alleys and is carried into the garden by the wind.


Normally I collect the debris in a bucket and carry it around to the back of the house because there isn’t enough space between the adjacent properties for a wheelbarrow or to bring a trashcan to the front. This chore usually takes a number of trips and can be so annoying that I’ve been known to leave the trash there and let the snow cover it until the spring. A couple of weeks ago a marketing rep for the Leaf Loader offered me a product sample and review. At first I declined because I don’t think that something designed to make gathering leaves from a yard or garden would be very useful. Then it dawned on it that maybe it could help me cleanup the garbage from the garden so I accepted the product.

The Leaf Loader cut the number of trips to the back of the house and garbage can by half because I could fit more trash on it than I could in a bucket. There isn’t really much I need to say about the Leaf Loader. It is a collapsible circle (that resembles a trampoline) that you rake leaves on, fold in half and empty into a receptacle like a bag or trashcan. It works just as you’d expect and you don’t need an extra set of hands to hold open a bag while you pour the leaves or garbage into it.  It is a great garden tool that is more efficient than using a tarp or a rake and shovel. The afternoon after I tested the Leaf Loader I passed by two neighbors doing the same fall garden chore with a rake and a shovel and laughed. If they had invited me to one of their summer cookout maybe I would’ve let them borrow my Leaf Loader to make the job easier. The Leaf Loader retails for $29.95, but I received mine for free and would recommend it to make cleaning up your garden and raking leaves easier.

Above I mentioned that I’ve been known to skip cleaning up the garden in the fall and do it in the spring. I don’t do this often and I don’t recommend you do either. Remove dead or dying plant material from the garden in the fall. Garden pests like iris leaf borers and diseases could overwinter and attack your plants in the spring. Cleaning the garden now will result in an easier spring and summer next year.

Here’s a video of the Leaf Loader to give you a better idea of its size. You can’t tell from the pictures here, but it is almost as big as my entire garden.


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  • Wow - that's some fast leaf-loading he's got going. I'm getting kind of dizzy...
    This might have come in handy yesterday when I had a huge pile of leaves in the driveway. I don't know if I'd pay $30 for the thing, though. I guess if I had a lot of leaves, or if I really wanted to be invited to everybody's cookout... :-)))

  • In reply to Jay3fer:

    LOL. When I first saw their video I added the Benny Hill music in my head.

  • I hadn't thought to use the LL for trash pickup, though I do get an interesting assortment of things blown into my yard, and I also pick up stuff off the cul de sac near my house. (Kids/teens hang out there, and, up until recently, peeps parked there to make quick drug runs into the nearby apts.) Even though I mulch-mowed my own leaves, my neighbors had the mountain of maple leaves to test the product on.
    P.S. Oh hey now! Who's stealing whose photo ideas now, hmmmm?? ;-)

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    Ha! Did I steal your photo idea? I'll have to check out your review again. P.S Why are you sounding like your live in my neighborhood.

  • Very cool MBT! Looks like a handy gadget. Love your creative, 'off-label' use of it.

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    Thanks. I was pretty pleased that I was able to use the LL even though I didn't have a lot of leaves. I'm house sitting right now and there are a bunch of leaves I'm going to try it out on.

  • wow, I can see how a tool that large could be helpful. I guess it's like a tarp but more attractive and easier to put away.

  • In reply to wkspray:

    It folds away smaller than it comes when it is packaged. I'm not sure how that's possible. But I have two of them and the one I opened and used and it is smaller than when packaged. It is magic.

  • @GreenishThumb: That's what she said. ;-)

  • In reply to Jay3fer:


  • In reply to Jay3fer:

    That leaf loader looks cool. There's a lot of stuff you could do with that. I could use something like that to carry stuff back and forth in my yard. I have been doing garden clean up in my yard. This yard is big, so it is a lot of work.

  • In reply to gardenmom29:

    I've been using mine for everything other than picking up leaves. It has some in handy to carrying laundry. :0)

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