Leaves & fertilizer

I’ve been wrestling with ways to enhance soil fertility.  Of course, my goal is organic, so no synthetic fertilizers.  When I first started out, I’d bring in organic compost but it’s a lot of work between shoveling it into wheel barrows and getting it into beds.  It’s backbreaking & time consuming. In the past couple of years, I’ve experimented with just using leaves.  At first it adds a nice layer of mulch to keep soil covered and weeds down and it breaks down quickly.  My friend Chris has gotten me to embrace the idea and the more I read, the more I like it.  Think about it: those tree roots sucking up micronutrients from deep in the soil and dropping that organic matter right onto the surface — that’s how the forest adds topsoil and fertilizer year after year providing a rich layer of mulch for small plants and seedlings to take hold.  Even better, we’ve been collecting bags of leaves from the side of the road.  They’re quick, easy, light and FREE!  I’m saving my back, lots of cash from not buying certified organic compost. Even more, I’m hardly using any fossil fuels to get it, whereas trucked in or prepackaged fertilizer has a much higher energy cost from production to transportation.  Anyway, I’m not a fan of raking leaves anyway — why remove that rich layer of nutrients from the ground!  But, if you’re going to do it, I’ll take your leaves!

Beds with lined up bags of leaves

Beds with lined up bags of leaves

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