Turning Dry Leaves Into a Good Deed

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Ever thought about the amount of time and energy we spend on our fall leaves?  Whether you live in town or outside it, there’s a good chance you dutifully rake up your leaves, stuff them into plastic or paper bags, and let someone else haul them off.  But why?  That takes a lot of human and fossil fuel energy, and it wastes quite a few bags, too.  In the country, we tend to let the leaves fall down, then rake the ones that are most in the way.  We often ignore the rest – less wasteful, but also not very useful.

Could those leaves be doing something for you?  There are other options for people interested in getting some value out of their leaves and wasting fewer resources.  Let’s take a look at what green minded people can do with fallen leaves.

The millions of leaves that fall every year could be a real opportunity.  For instance, anyone with farm animals knows how much straw and other bedding material can cost.  If you have hardwood trees in your yard, you could do away with some of that cost.  Many leaves are a great option for bedding down animals.  Aspen, oak, and many other leaves are an excellent choice for bedding your sheep, goats, and other creatures for the winter.

Just remember that they’re not as absorbent as shavings and straw.  You may need to use more of them, or clean more often.  However, it doesn’t get any cheaper than this!  Some types of leaves make good winter feed for rabbits, sheep, and other animals, but make sure you’re using the right kind.  Your vet can help you tell which species are right for your livestock.

Of course, not everyone has animals.  That doesn’t mean we can’t use leaves to our advantage, though.  Dry leaves make an excellent addition to your compost pile, and turn into a rich soil additive that really makes a difference.  They also can be dug right into the garden in spring or fall, and make excellent mulch, too.  Avoid walnut or aromatic leaves, which can be toxic, and stick to the ones that’ll provide good insulation for your plants.  Vermicomposters will love using shredded leaves as worm bedding.  Grass clippings can be added in, too.

So, when you go to rake your next batch of leaves, don’t throw them out.  They’re a free bonus for a lot of people.  You just have to know what to do with them.  Whether it’s keeping your animals warm, comfortable, and fed all winter long, or making sure your garden and compost pile are ready to produce, dry leaves are a real benefit.  Too many people spend time and money getting rid of them, when they could be raking in the benefits!

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  3. 6 Green Useful Things To Do With Beer

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