This time of year is my favourite, yours too? The colours are alive and vibrant, the temperatures are letting me wear sweaters, and nature is getting ready to have a well-deserved nap. Go outside and take a deep breath. Smells good, right? Aaaahh, that autumn makes me feel GOOD.
WHAT’S THIS?! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!
Let me tell you what irks me: yard waste being WASTED! This is a beautiful time of year to use exactly what your yard is giving you and turn it into something beautiful. In fact, it’s not waste, so let’s call it yard GROWTH. What’s more is that you save yourself a lot of hassle!
Here are some examples:
- COMPOST EVERYTHING. You can compost leaves, twigs, unripe fruit, plant clippings, dead flowers, HORSE POO, etc. I guess that last one is not really yard growth, but I am sure at least one of you has a horse standing in your yard. If you have too much to compost RIGHT NOW, you can create a *browns pile to stock up for next year when not many browns are available in the spring and summer seasons. *browns refers to carbon materials, like leaves and twigs. As long as you maintain the moisture and aeration of your pile, you will be well on your way to some primo fertile soil.
- Give it away. Save yourself a trip to the dump, and give your yard growth away to someone who would love it. The dump does not need your leaves; it’s a waste of leaves! And fuel! And landfill space! Community gardens always have a use for leaves, school gardens, or your compost nerd friend (ME). I just started stockpiling from friendly leaf-give-awayers on social media.
- LEAF it where it is (HAHA). The leaves falling off the trees are full of nutrients. The tree has pulled up all the nutrients from the soil into the roots and into its leaves and is now dropping those leaves to re-nutrient the soil it grows in. You’re stealing that tree’s snack! Leaves are a natural, nutrient-rich, mulch that can aid in moisture retention. Leaves left where they are can also fertilize your lawn (no chemicals required). They also provide winter housing for insects and other cherished critters.
- Start an experiment. I am not a compost amateur, but definitely a gardening amateur. Regardless, I am starting an experiment this year: lasagna gardening! Which is basically a fancy way of saying, “Look at that pile of yard growth over there!” I placed a layer of cardboard on the bottom to cover grass and weeds, and alternated layers of green and brown materials that my yard provided. I topped it with a layer of compost soil, and now I will let it simmer all winter until I am ready to plant in the spring. No digging required!
What’s your favourite way of using your yard growth?
It just baffles me how many neighbours waste so much time tending to their yard growth. I see them rake it together, bag it in black plastic bags, load it onto a truck, and drive it off to the dump. They do this several times a year with grass from mowing, leaves from trees, and other growth. It is not necessary. We had a tree break nearly in half the other week, and I am going to use the bits to compost or do other experiments.