Our gardens are beginning their long winter slumber. The lovely and colorful flowers of summer have been zapped by ole Jack Frost. The days are getting shorter the nights are long and cold. The trees are bare, and we begin looking forward to the busy holiday season.
There is still time to plant daffodils, tulips, crocus, and other spring bulbs before the ground freezes. By now many stores have reduced the bulbs and for a little money and some work digging and planting, the bulbs will bring a very welcomed burst of color in the spring.
The vivid orange and scarlet red leaves that once graced the trees now lay piled as brown litter on our lawns. Many people rake them up and pile them up in the street for the City to pass by and remove them. Others bag the leaves up and sit them on the curb for the garbage man to haul them off to a landfill. Many country folks continue the autumn tradition of burning the leaves with the swirling smoke perfuming the crisp air with the spicy woodsy scent.
But wait! Don’t get rid of your fallen leaves! Roger Swain who was the host of the PBS TV show, The Victory Garden, for fifteen years, calls the leaves blowing around on your lawn, “Black Gold!”
Americans spend billions each year on fertilizer and garden and lawn care. Run the lawn mower over the leaves and work the leaf mold into your vegetable and flower beds. The leaves are a free treasure full of nutrients and minerals that are very beneficial to plants. Your only expense is the time to rake up and run the mower over the leaves. The chopped up leaves will decompose quickly enriching and transforming your garden into a rich loamy soil. Another alternative is to place your leaves into a pit dug in your garden or place in a compost bin. They will decompose over the winter and can be added to your soil in the spring.
Taking the time to compost the leaves and working the organic material into your soil will reward you next spring with larger healthier flowers, big red juicy tomatoes, and more abundant vegetables.
So, don’t toss the leaves! They are black gold for the soil and your garden will thank you!
Born and raised in Ohio Rick presently lives in an old house in a small central Ohio town, famous for its giant gourds. Rick comes from a family of avid gardeners. Now retired, he had the privilege to work with people with disabilities for over thirty years. His tiny city garden is crammed with an assortment or a collection of plants. During the long cold Ohio winters he continues gardening in the house and in his small backyard greenhouse. He is passionate about plants and writing. In his youth he traveled the world. The diversity of plants around the world is amazing! He especially enjoyed my time teaching in a bush school in Africa and spending a summer with the legendary Masai Tribe on the Serengeti Plain. For years, he has enjoyed the study of the ancient uses for plants and herbs. Many cultures today still believe in the magical qualities of plants. Grow a tomato, a tree, or plant some tulip bulbs, or grow some herbs in your kitchen window. It will make you feel good and you will be making our world a better place!
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