Kids and Fall Leaves

Fall foliage in brilliant yellow, orange, and red appear as the cool nights and shorter days of October trigger the photosynthesis to shut down, toning down the green in the leaves and allowing other colors to emerge. Kids love to jump and play in the colorful leaves that cover the ground. When the leaves fall to the ground around the base of the tree, the antioxidants in these colors are absorbed into the soil and protect the tree from frost and keep competing plants from taking root. 

Fall leaves are a boon to the organic veggie garden as they are the perfect addition to the compost pile. Start with rich soil and layer fresh green plant scraps with brown dry leaves; add vegetable scraps from the kitchen, fresh grass, weeds, coffee grinds; add another layer of dry leaves, water it, and let it cook. Compost is the best fertilizer, creating rich soil to grow abundant, nutritious organic veggies. 

For years, kids have been helping their folks rake leaves and stuff them into bags to be hauled away. However, leaves are the perfect mulch and add organic nutrients to the soil in the yard. The mulch also suppresses weeds, prevents disease, and holds in moisture. Many wildlife species lives in or relies on this leaf layer to find food (like chipmunks, earthworms, toads, as well as butterfly pupae). Move the leaves around the yard to mulch the flower beds. Allow the fallen leaves to remain on the ground, decompose, and feed the soil.

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