Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Simple Suggestion #142... Gather ye carbons while ye may

I think the wet spring and late fall this year has made for more autumn leaves than usual -- I've never seen a pile as big as the one we raked on Friday. All three of my girls could jump into it at once, and they're not little girls anymore!

Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year for many reasons, but here's a reason you might not expect: it's a great time to gather materials for composting! Leaves can be found in abundance in many neighbourhoods, and are essential to a well-functioning compost pile. If the rule-of-thumb ratio between carbon sources (browns like autumn leaves) and nitrogen sources (green plant matter from the garden or organic kitchen scraps) is 20:1, now’s the time to collect enough leaves to last until next fall. I think I went through about 40 big bags this year.

If you have a treeless yard and don’t have access to leaves in abundance, why not ask around? People who bag them for removal are often delighted to share, and it's always a good thing if garbage trucks don't have to create even more fossil fuel emissions because of all the leaves going to the dump. I can count on neighbours and extended family members to keep my composter supplied for the year! Leaves also make great moisture-retaining and weed-reducing mulch for perennial beds if they're wet down and packed so they don't blow around -- given a year or three, they turn into compost on their own, and they cost nothing, unlike bags of wood chips. Giving some thought to how you can put your carbons to use instead of trucking them away makes for a much happier environment all around, and I don't know about you, but I'm all for it!

P.S. For more Simple Suggestions, look here.


  1. awesome! another great post.....i have posted it on twitter!


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