Monday, October 19, 2015

Fall Undertakings

Though wood chips are available here year-round, a more compostable product of nature is offered only once a year.  When the leaves fall in the Fall (get it?), we have some choices to make.  Are we going to blow or rake them off to the side? bag them? shred them first? and then what?
Any of those three options are fine, it's the "then what?" that makes the difference.  If you leave them on the ground off your lawn, they will eventually decompose and nourish the soil there.  If you bag them, then add a little rich soil or compost, slash the bags in several places, and plan on turning them every month for a year, you will then have leaf mold that can be used as a mulch or compost input. If you shred them, then use the shreds as mulch or as a compost input.
Speeding up life and death's natural rhythm always takes exertion, as I demonstrated yesterday at Double Oak Farm when I made 25 gallons of biochar during the Calvert County Farm Festival.  In our area, the most prominent exemplar of leaf composting is found in the two counties immediately north where they make Leafgro from leaves and grass clippings.  It makes a good soil amendment, but you can make better if you include food wastes and biochar in the compost you make yourself.  After my exertions at the demo yesterday, I am glad to know that some people are getting the biochar bug along with me down here in Southern Maryland.  Maybe someday, we can get enough interest to mass produce a biochar compost product to rival the popularity of Leafgro in this region.  One company has actually beat us to market and are beginning to penetrate our area with it.

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