Boy! Was I Naive!

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

When I shouted those words to my wife from behind the shredder/chipper she laughingly ask: "You're 71 years old and think you are naive?"

Well, I like that wording better than "Boy! was I stupid!"

I decided to gather leaves off the streets this year for my garden.

Got loads and loads, thinking "All I have to do is run them through a shredder." The problem is I have never used (or watched anybody use) shredder. Thought all I had to do was dump a bag in and let'er rip!

Yeah, right! Used a lawnmower, and a leaf vac--gosh a big shredder should be a lot faster! Glad I only borrowed and didn't buy a shredder/chipper.

Have spent hours on these babies and still have oodles to go, but I love the texture of what is coming out.

Okay, I am either stupid or naive, take your pick, but I am learning a lot, getting plenty of exercise, and am looking forward to using my harvest of leaves next spring.

This is a picture of first loads of leaves. The pile is now to the gate and stacked higher.

Thumbnail by gessieviolet
Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I run over leaves several times with a lawn mower, and then put them into large plastic pots to decompose into beautiful black dirt.

Johns Island, SC

When I first moved here 22 years ago gessiev, I noticed that a lot of locals dutifully raked up all their leaves, put them in bags, and left them curbside for pick-up by city/county trucks. I thought I had struck a gold mine! Every Monday morning, I'd drive around Yuppy neighborhoods and pick them up. Because the leaves were already bagged, I simply had to dump the bagged leaves into my shredder and voila!...instant compost/mulch. Worked great the first year...I tilled 3" of leaves into the soil in the fall, and still had enough leaves to serve a 3" mulch on top. Figured I had it made! Worked great! So I did again the next year, and had 8000 Alocasia plants spring up everywhere in the garden! What a mess. I'm still digging them out 20 years later. My mistake was not COMPOSTING the "leaves" before using them..Painfull "shortcut" that turned into a 20 yr battle... Just sayin' careful! They put more than just dead leaves in those bags!

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