Get your leaves yet?

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In rural areas where lots of people hunt, the common greeting in fall is “Get your deer yet?” “Getting your deer” means preparing for winter, laying in supplies. In the suburbs we don’t hunt (often I wish we did, because we have way too many deer and rabbits), but we still prepare for the coming year. One of the ways I do that is by gathering the leaves that fall on my lawn. I started “getting my leaves” today.

I’ve written about the “Leave the Leaves” program that governments are instituting in many parts of the country–encouraging homeowners to recycle their own leaves rather than leaving them at the curb for recycling. I wish we had a program like that in this area, and I keep all my leaves. The ones that fall on the front lawn get chopped up by the mulching mower–they serve as lawn fertilizer, the only kind I ever use. The ones that fall on the back lawn go into the compost.

In the fall, I rake all the leaves from the back lawn onto a narrow strip on the side of my property, pile them up, and add them to my compost pile as I need them throughout the year. By late August, I will have used them all up to make two or three loads of compost, and I’ll have to go scavenge the first fallen leaves from a roadside strip a block away from my house. But that’s a long time from now. Right now, I’m enjoying autumn’s bounty. Those leaves will make compost, which in turn will allow me to grow vegetables next year without any chemical additives.

Get your leaves yet?

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