by Amy Landers
This morning a monarch butterfly emerged from the chrysalis on my office ceiling. As a caterpillar, it had inched its way up the wall seeking a high, protected place to pupate. The boys and I tightened security on our homemade critter keeper where a dozen other caterpillars eat and pupate safe from predators. We’ve been watching the monarchs’ transformations with awe.
Fall is a season full of transformation. Pumpkins ripen to orange. Flowers shift from soft petals to dry seed heads. Trees change to red and yellow. Leaves drop and slowly turn into soil. While decomposition may be the humblest of these transformations, the process is full of promise for our gardens.
We’ve been gathering up leaves for our compost bins. We stockpile leaves to layer with kitchen waste throughout the year. Plus, we’ll combine some with other green waste to make one big batch of compost. With a little attention and care, we’ll have finished compost ready for next summer’s garden. What could have been trash becomes treasure!
Compost is the do-it-all amendment in the garden. It can fertilize plants and provide food for beneficial soil microbes. Compost helps sandy soils retain water and clay soils drain. It acts as a soil probiotic and can even help suppress disease.
Even after years of composting, I still feel a thrill of excitement when I dig into a finished compost pile and see the dark organic matter that was once apple cores and oak leaves.
Want to set the stage for a happy spring garden and get the thrill and satisfaction of making your own compost? Amy is hosting a free online class, a Quick Start to Composting, starting on Monday, Oct. 2. Read more and sign-up!
Amy Landers is a nature nerd, educator, mom of three boys, and author of The Happy Garden Guide to Composting. She’s been gardening and composting for more than 25 years. Through GardensThatMatter.com, Amy and her husband Colby teach families how to grow beautiful, bountiful gardens together.
the garden - issue 1