Leaves are something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Quite possibly because I have a hell of a lot of them to rake up. FINALLY we’re free of snow here and after nearly six months of being covered in white stuff a hopefull green-brown lawn has appeared.
But winter surprised us last year (doesn’t it every year?!) and the leaves were left just lying where they fell. Normally I shuffle them up into garden beds and under bushes, paradise for worms and even, unfortunately, for snails.
But probably leaves are one of our greatest unseen resources. We all have them, even in the city. But the focus is always on getting rid of them. Yesterday I drove past a guy who was cleaning up his footpath and sweeping leaves and gravel down into the stormwater grate. Bizarre!
So what if were to do more with leaves and Bokashi in combination? Together they make fantastically good soil. We encourage people here to fill a number of standard-issue sacks with leaves in the autumn and toss in their bokashi buckets during the winter. Put them out in the sun when spring comes and sooner or later you’ll have soil.
These guys have been doing fantastic work with the concept. Real hands-on projects on a bit bigger scale than we have at home in the kitchen. First, a standard fermentation in the bucket. Then the bokashi is layered with leaves and left to turn to soil. The end product is therefore a batch of great soil rather than a batch of half-icky fermented food waste.
So smart and so down-to-earth. It seems to me like this has to be the way to go in the future. There are sure to be a million possible variations on the theme — but the basic idea is to work with what you have instead of work against it.
Imagine a super soil factory like this at the back of every garage, apartment building, shop and office block. Takes a little bit of imagination and a bit of planning and reschooling but the outcome can only be good. Local communities producing the one thing they just can’t get enough of — good fertilising soil, using a couple of the things that they just can’t get rid of fast enough — food waste and old leaves.
Exciting, isn’t it? And the really good thing is that there’s nothing to lose by giving it a go.