Mulch is always a good idea to keep weeds down. And applying a 2- to 3-in. layer to your garden now will protect soil all winter.
Scattered fall leaves mean plenty of raw material, too. But don’t just toss them whole onto your garden. Large leaves, especially ones from sycamores or maples, mat together in the rain and snow. This can smother plants trying to grow in spring.
Instead, rake up leaves into a row and run them over with the mower first, just like we did here.