Sunday, January 30, 2011

Urban Permaculture - Composting the Hood's Leaves

Free Compost, Cations and pH tools
We gather many truckloads of leaves every week destined for the landfill and recycle the bags and the leaves.

Not too glamorous yet very practical ( remember Louis Sullivan and functionalist architecture) collecting your neighbor's bagged up yard leaves can benefit your permaculture garden, your green roof and benefit your wallet.

Cation exchange capacity and pH are two important variables of a gardens and green roof.  Additionally, leaf compost can add valuable trace minerals needed by both the ground level and rooftop plants.

Leaf compost typically contains twice the amount of trace minerals by weight as does horse manure.

And heavy duty garbage bags are expensive.  We used to pay about ten US dollars per box at our local home improvement store.  Now we have all the free heavy duty garbage bags we need.

Interestingly, leaves from different species of trees offer varying characteristics.  While ash leaves are relative neutral in pH, some maple species leaves are documented to possess a pH of around 4.5.

Research shows use of properly composted leaves greatly increases the cation exchange capacity of soils.  One of the important functions needed in both garden and green roof soil media is cation exchange capacity.

Save $10 per month on garbage bags
 Though varying opinions of organic compost value to green roofs exist throughout the industry, many believe organic material in the soil media is highly beneficial to green roof plants.

Remember, both gardens and green roofs are individual ecosystems, intricate webs of life with complex interactions.

Collecting heavy duty garbage bags filled with fresh raked leaves (we avoid those lawns heavily treated with fertilizers and herbicides/pesticides - those lawns are easy to spot here in the US due to the small advertising signs the lawn companies stick in the lawn after a fertilizer application - and speaking of lawns and fertilizers - a short must-see video of the history of the American Lawn will have you rolling in your chair and scratching your head at the same time can be viewed here) is a positive step for the environment.

Other benefits include;
  • Free highly effective cation exchange capacity supplements from the leaf compost
  • Free organic matter from the leaf compost
  • Free trace minerals from the leaf compost
  • Free pH adjustment material from the leaf compost (this is especially important when using higher pH soil media or media high in calcium)
  • Free garbage bags
  • And a lesson to your children riding with you to scavenge that recycling is more important than pride. :)
Free Organic Mulch and Free Garbage Bags, Urban Permaculture
Enjoy the photos of the free leaf compost we gathered last week and also the free heavy duty garbage bags and as always - its great to have an Urban Farm!


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