Sunday, May 10, 2009

Make Your Own Mulch and Compost from Leaves

"Every spring we make new leaf mold. This is part of this year’s huge pile of ground-up leaves… by next spring it will have become a pile of rich black “soil” that will do wonderful things to our gardens." Read the rest here.

We do a version of this as well, more out of laziness than anything else! ;) Seriously, this is an efficient and cost effective way to recycle, and take advance of nature's cycle of decomposition. We use a mulching mower to shred the leaves, tiny sticks, and grass into tiny pieces so that they decompose more quickly. Instead of piling them, we just mow right over the stuff and leave them. Everything returns to the earth as free fertilizer. Anything extra or unsightly gets raked up around the trees in a neat circle, or wisked into the beds as mulch.

In addition to the using a mulching mower, we get free wood chips from local tree cutting companies. I dress the beds with these, right over the leaves and weeds. It all breaks down into lovely rich soil with the help of lots of worms who find the mix lovely.

Less work and cost for us, and better for the environment.

Our local government is encouraging this natural method of landscaping in order to minimize fertilizer and other chemical run off(storm drains) into the Chesapeake Bay, which is suffering a slow death from algae bloom and pollution. In addition to loss of wildlife, waterman jobs have been lost due to poor catches. Crab and fish are no longer as plentiful.


Elizabeth-Plain and Simple said...

Great post. We also use mulching mowers throughout the summer and leave it as you do. However, in the fall we use an attachment on our mower that cleans up and mulches all the leaves so that we can spread them over our plowed garden area. I also dump all food scraps there throughout the fall and winter months. In the spring we disc it all up and plant. It has taken us years to get our garden soil conditioned enough to grow anything without depending on chemicals (fertilizers). Thanks for sharing.


Alexandra said...

It does take a long time, but it pays off...I've been using free coffee grounds from Starbucks. They are pretty good letting us take their trash bags of old grounds.

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