Leaves and plant leftovers, collected in autumn, can gain a second life. We suggest how to clean up the garden, generating as little waste as possible.
The idea of zero waste is a great way to save money in the garden, but also to live in harmony with nature. It turns out that following a few simple rules can significantly minimize the amount of waste we leave behind.
When running a zero waste garden, it is crucial to understand the value of a composter. You can throw most organic waste into it, which will later become valuable fertilizer. Almost all plant and fruit scraps that you collect during autumn garden cleanup will be suitable. Leaves and cut grass usually take up a lot of space, and moving them to a distant container can be a tedious job. Also they can be part of your compost. Keep in mind, however, that parts of diseased plants and certain types of weeds should not be included in the compost bin.
With properly prepared compost you will nourish the soil, providing it with many valuable nutrients. Thus, you will reduce the number of garbage produced, plus save on the purchase of specialized preparations. You will fertilize the soil, by aerating it and enriching it with humus. Plants that are planted on such soil will grow much faster.
It is best to find a place in the garden that is easily accessible, but at the same time does not get in the way or disturb the landscape. It’s a good idea to choose a slightly shady spot off to the side, some distance from the trees. Once you’ve found the optimal location, think about the shape and size of your composter. When doing so, remember that you can build it yourself or use ready-made structures. Also consider ventilation – poorly oxygenated compost can rot quickly. If you already have a ready-made framework, dig a hole about 1 m deep. Then pound the composting structure, and place only a layer of bark or branches on the bottom. On such a prepared surface you can already throw compost elements, such as the previously mentioned leaves or grass.
Raking is a basic activity performed in the garden. However, it should not be forgotten – especially in autumn. Although a carpet of leaves can be a beautiful decoration, over time it can become a source of problems, becoming one of the main environments for pests to grow. Leaves and fall debris can also promote yellowing of the grass, which will thus lose its aesthetic appearance. It is therefore necessary to collect them as soon as possible. If they turn out to be healthy, you can put them in the compost heap. Sickly leaves, on the other hand, are better disposed of in a container.
Note that not all leftovers need to be thrown into the composter. You can use some of the cut-off parts of vegetables, harvested in autumn, to grow new vegetables. A great example is carrot root. All you need to do is wash it and cut off its upper part, so that it measures about 2.5 cm. Put the root prepared this way in a container with water and leave it in a warm place for about a week until it starts to sprout. This will mean that you can take it out of the water and put it in a pot filled with soil. Watered regularly, the root will soon begin to sprout leaves.
main photo: unsplash.com/Nong V