Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Make Like a Tree, and Leave

Fun with leaves from The Conscious Shopper

"My husband spent three hours getting the leaves out of our yard last weekend," a friend told me. "An hour to blow them all into a pile, and then two hours to bag them all up."

"Wow!" I replied casually, but inside I was screaming. Why, oh why, did he waste time getting the leaves out of his yard??? I want more leaves in my yard! We don't have any trees, and although we got enough leaves from our neighbors' trees to do this...

...it wasn't nearly as many leaves as I'd like. When I add a garden next year and start working on our landscaping, I'm definitely going to need more leaves for my stockpile. I'm sure my neighbors will be happy to share.

Don't have a proper appreciation for leaves? Try these fall projects:

For you
  • Mulch your garden. Instead of bagging up your leaves, pile them in your garden and around your shrubs, flowers, and leaves. Why buy mulch every year when your trees provide it for free?
  • Mulch your lawn. If you don't have a lot of leaves, you can simply mow over them with your lawn mower. They will decompose right where you left them and add beneficial nutrients to your lawn.
  • Leaf mold. Decomposed leaves are a great addition to a garden. You can let the leaves decompose on their own or add them to other organic material to make compost.
For your kids
  • Play house. When I was a kid, we would mound leaves into rows to make the floor plan of a home, and then we'd designate a mom, dad, and kids for a game of "house." I really wish there were enough leaves in my yard to pass that tradition on to my children.
  • Identify leaves. I love picking up a leaf and quizzing my kids on the type of tree it came from. How many types of leaves can you find in your yard? You can also press leaves and keep them as a memento.
  • Catch leaves. My son's teacher told their class, "If you catch a leaf as it's falling, you'll be holding a leaf that has never touched the ground." My son thinks that is so cool.
Now get out there and enjoy your leaves!


Anonymous said...

I definitely agree; I LOVE leaves, and I miss them now that we only have one tree in our yard (and it's an evergreen). Too bad he blew the leaves into a pile; it's so much more fun to rake them (and a better workout). I have very fond memories of us as neighborhood kids raking everyone's yard. I don't even remember if we got paid. Thanks:)

greeen sheeep said...

I find myself eyeing the bags upon bags of leaves set by the curb this time of year. Even with my half-acre-tree-covered lawn I want more. Next year I think I am going to snatch a few. That way I can leave mine on the lawn and let others do the work for my compost pile.

Jenn the Greenmom said...

oh, I feel your pain! We live in the midst of neighbors with big trees who rake and bag all of them, while we have no trees of our own...we do have one neighbor who mulches his trees. (He's the guy who built the remote controlled lawn mower--fairly cool guy!)

Next year we'll get our act together and ask some of our neighbors in advance if we can rake and take their leaves...flu hit our house and we lost a couple of weeks in there...I love this post! We're going to do the leaf crown thing after school tomorrow, I think.

The Mom said...

I love leaves for my garden. My neighbors know this and I get their leaves each year. I like to run over them with the lawn mower to shred them and use as mulch over my beds. Any left overs get put in a bin and left to turn into leaf mold for the garden. Wonderful stuff.

Green Bean said...

We used oodles of leaves when we laid down sheet mulch - converting our lawn into vegetable garden. As we only have one big tree, we made like Greeen Sheeep and picked up some of those bags on the curbs. I also offered to rake up neighbors leaves and such. It always makes me so sad when I see piles of leaves blown up, wrapped in plastic and headed to the landfill.

utahlawyer said...

We have large yard with a lot of leaves. For the last few years, we have been trying to use all of our leaves. We have a leaf blower/vacuum that shreds the leaves and compresses them. Last fall, we dumped bags of the shredded leaves on our garden beds and turned them into the soil. They were all decomposed or worm eaten by spring. We also made several large compost piles with them. However, I discovered that some of them didn't break down over the winter because I didn't have enough green material with them. I have a hard time this time of year finding enough green material.

This year, we will be turning leaves into the garden beds again and using to mulch an area where we want to improve the soil. I have also built a really big compost pile using many of our garden leaves along with my dead garden plants, halloween pumpkins, kitchen scraps, and scraps from canning apples and grape juice. I will see how that breaks down over the winter.

Although I have chosen to use my leaves, I do applaud my county for spearheading a leaf recycle program this year where residents can bag their leaves and drop them off to be composted. The county then sells the compost to landscapers and residents for $20 per truckload.

Daisy said...

He was bagging his leaves? What a waste.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

The crazy thing is that Raleigh has a great curbside leaf collection where you just have to rake your leaves out onto the curb and a big truck vacuum thing comes by and sucks it up. Then they turn the leaves into compost and sell it back to residents, much like utahlawyer said. So it's not only a waste of good leaves to bag it up, but a complete waste of time since the leaf sucker truck won't take them if they're in a bag!

Lisa Sharp said...

I have been seeing lots of bags. So sad! I'm going to use some for my garden then my husband will be mulching the rest.


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