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Monday, November 23, 2015

Leave the Leaves

Rake or not to Rake? That seems to be the question of the season. While driving around town I see people raking and companies blowing leaves and hauling them away. I always think, there has to be a better way. Raking is my least favorite "gardening" task - I dislike raking even more than I dislike weeding!

I saw somewhere - probably Facebook (if it's on Facebook it has to be true, right?) that someone discovered that leaving the leaves on the ground for the winter actually acts as a mulch for your lawn. So I got thinking, all the meadows (nature's lawns) that don't get raked after the splendor of autumn has blown off the trees and on to the ground, look beautiful in the spring and no one took the time to rake and fertilize. So why is it so important to rake in the fall? I understand why it's beneficial to rake in the spring and that's kind of fun unearthing sweet buds and seedlings from the crust of winter, but the fall? It made sense to me that keeping the fallen leaves on the ground as protection was nature's free, organic, ecological mulch and a perfect excuse to do something else during the fall! Apple picking? Cider making? Guess what I found while surfing the net??

my leaf-processing q&a with mike mcgrath

FOR 17 YEARS ON PUBLIC RADIO and many before that in print, Mike McGrath has been a leading voice for organic horticulture, and a highly distinctive one. The host of the nationally syndicated public radio show You Bet Your Garden” from WHYY in Philadelphia, is—like I am—someone  who has for decades had a serious thing for gathering every shred of organic material he can get his hands on, especially leaves, and turning it all into soil-improving goodness.
Note I used the word “shred,” because on my radio show and podcast, Mike and I talked about shredding, and how the right strategy along with the best shredding device can make all the difference in making mulch and compost from those brilliant leaves you’ve been piling up. Read along as you listen in, using the player below or at this link, to the November 23, 2015 edition of the program.
Admittedly, Mike McGrath's explanation of my idea is a little more involved than my guiltless - leave the leaves for the good of the planet and my leisure life but it does make sense!
Do you rake in the fall and spring? Do you have a lawn to be envied by all?
                                     Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
                             Soon we will be talking about shoveling...

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