Sunday, November 22, 2009

Leaf Trick

I apologize for posting a day late. This blog started out as a complaint against Mother Nature. No matter how many times I rake the leaves out of the corners and from under bushes, she insists on blowing a new bunch right back.

Then I read the Susan Harris’ post “The Great Dead-Leaf Debate – who knew?” at Sustainable Gardening blog. Susan presents the alternatives in 2 parts.

Susan also mentions the “leaf it be” movement. You know - letting leaves decompose where they fall

Here are my reasons why I will never be part of the “leaf it be” movement:
- When I worked on farms, no one had the time or the energy to worry about leaves (although we did sometimes clean up the perennial beds). We were too busy tossing bales, feeding animals and cleaning up after animals. The leaves had to take care of themselves. That was then and this is now. It’s different in city life.

- Leaves accumulated in corners do no good. They make a slimy, messy pile and a perfect hiding place for rodents and insects.

- A rug of maple leaves on the lawn will smother grass. It may do the same to groundcovers and perennials. Even though we’ve reduced the size of our lawn over the years, we still need a place for kids to play kick ball and throw a Frisbee. So we need some lawn. We leave some shredded leaves on the lawn but there are way too many to shred them all.

- Leaves block storm drains and cause flooding. It’s a driving hazard. I’ve seen it happen. . (There’s nothing more foul than a flooded, stagnant intersection with rotting leaves floating on top.)

- Leaves on sidewalks become slippery when wet. I don’t want to see granny with feet flying above her head.

- Leaves stuck in tender shrubs by the whimsical wind do not decompose. They have to be picked out by hand. They look messy and will still be there when we harvest the tomatoes next summer.

- Leaves can rot wooden decks. Decks are too expensive to let rot.

- And, raking is good exercise on a crisp, fall day. It promotes family togetherness. (The younger family members may try to make grownups feel guilty at their forced servitude with a rolling of eyes and deep sighs. Don’t fall for it.)

My compost bin is full. I have a large pile of leaves to add all year.

If I can’t use all the leaves from my yard, why not let the city make compost for everyone? We picked up a nice truckload this fall. And, it’s is so much better than dumping them in the landfill.


Kathy said...

That little quip about the younger members rolling their eyes and deep sighs... ha! i guess it is a given for all teenagers then.

good reasons to rake. thanks!


Marie said...

Some things about teenagers never change. Somehow my mother got smarter after I turned 20.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

I think your reasons are valid for raking. Plus, there is nothing quite so satisfying for a child as sailing into a pile of leaves--Loudon has been having a wonderful time rolling in the leaves this fall. I think as long as those leaves don't end up in the landfill, let the city have 'em! Where my mother lives, they rake them onto the street, and a big vacumn comes along and sucks them up and makes mulch and compost from them. What a great idea!

Marie said...

Kids love to jump in leaves don't they. Louden seems to have a good time everywhere.
The city's leaf vacuum is due in our area this week. We'll be outside to finish raking today.

maría cecilia said...

Good morning Marie, yes, there are so many reasons, as you mention, for removing fallen leaves. And as you have so many, part of them will be in the compost bin for great spring soil nutrient. I do the same, remove them and take them to the compost bin, others, in the hill, specially under Litre trees I just left them there to naturally decompose. Litre soil is so good and we use it a lot here in Chile.
Muchos cariños and have a great week.
María Cecilia

Marie said...

Maria Cecelia,
The plants love compost. Leaves are an excellent ingredient. They are worth the time it takes to gather them.

donna said...

I agree with everyone of your reasons for not joining the "leaf it be" movement.

We are finally finished with all of our outdoor work for the season.

Marie said...

I can hear the drone of the leaf vacuum on our street as I'm writing. Our outdoor work has come to an end also. It's time for holidays, houseplants and plans for next year's garden.