Breath Of Ecology

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After a summer of green leaves and shade, came those beautiful autumn colors caused by the disappearance of chlorophyll and emergence of the golds and reds in the leaves; a sight to behold - up north, especially - for too short a period.


Now has come the time for viewing those proud, leafless limbs standing tall above carpets of their disassociated colored leaves below. Sounds poetic, but to many, an anticipated nuisance.


Those leaves can be raked up, bagged, and thrown away, or maybe burned, if allowed in the area.


Or... a lawnmower can cut them up into small pieces that will sink into the ground to gradually decompose and add nutrients to the soil.


Or ... they can be raked and put into a compost pile to break down into precious leaf mold.  This mold, which may take a year or two to mature, supplies a soil amendment that improves soil texture with beneficial soil microbes, and provides a welcome environment for worms that aerate and fertilize the soil.


Compost, kept in a wire container for air in a shady spot, needs to be kept damp and turned now and then; or, it can be kept in punctured plastic bags, kept damp, and kneaded.


By mixing leaf mold into the soil, environmentalists tell us that it's really not necessary to spend money on fertilizers when we can simply "turn dirt into gold" right in our back yard.



Written by:  Sr. Joel:  a Dominican Sister of Peace who lives in Springfield, KY.  She is a native of New Orleans  and has been a teacher, school and parish administrator, social worker, religious educator, and missionary.  She has written "Breath of Ecology" for local newspapers and has published a book under the same title.

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