Leaf Litter in Kingston

Leaf Litter, Kingston, OntarioFall is one of my favourite seasons, and for many a reason. I love the seasonal produce, making preserves, taking trips to Prince Edward County to stock up on select vintages, and of course the sight of ever-changing trees around the Limestone City. That said, as we all know those gorgeous Fall trees also have a downside, as very few people truly enjoy raking leaves. Even if you have one of those fancy energy-sucking leave blowers, you probably still detest the chore. In past years I have made a concerted effort to rake my lawn weekly, mostly out of respect for my neighbours on those blustery days. This year however, my strategy has changed as I’m waiting for the three trees on our property to be barren before busting out the rake. In addition to this diversion, I’ve also got a new plan for putting leaf litter to use around my yard, as opposed to letting the city cart it away and use it for themselves. Accordingly, this week’s poll asks:
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We’re still figuring out the best way to manage our gardens and put them to bed after the growing season.  In my search for advice, I came across Loving Nature’s Garden, who offers a comprehensive list of suggestions to put your vast piles of leaf litter to good use.

  1. Mulch them – a good mulching mower allows you to leave a surprisingly large pile of leaves on your lawn (they virtually disappear). The trick is to “cut” your grass twice. If it’s not working for you, your lawn mower could be at fault; not all mulching mowers are created equal.
  2. Compost them in your garden – leaves can be easily stored in cylinders of chicken wire and either slow-composted there or saved until you need them for your compost tumbler. Try placing the chicken-wire cylinders where you can use them as support for growing beans, or other vines, up.
  3. Add them to perennial beds – your perennial flower beds are good places to put leaves, provided your garden is not horrendously windy over the winter. In Eastern Kansas leaves won’t generally stay put because of the winter wind. This fall, however, I plan to try leaving leaves in my rain garden – it’s a basin-shaped area where I think they’ll be trapped.
  4. Community recycle them – some communities have garden waste recycling programs, either curbside or drop-off. My community does not have this option, but a nearby, local, commercial garden nursery takes leaves, brush, tree trimmings, soil etc and turns it into compost. They charge a fee, which I’m willing to pay to keep garden waste out of the landfill.
  5. Offer leaves to others – neighbors, gardening club members, and local farmers are all possibilities. If you are not yet doing your own backyard composting perhaps one of your neighbors is. They may be happy to have extra leaves. If not, try asking a local small-scale farmer. I don’t think certified organic farmers could accept your leaves, but other farmers who make their own compost may be interested.

What tips do you have to put your leaf litter to use, or are you content with letting the City of Kingston haul it away in your green bin? Please drop off a few comments below and let us know.

Thanks to Brian Dunlay for today’s photo.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

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