Well-fed worms

Leaves | @robertz @ robzlog

There are leaves everywhere. Nuisance or resource?

This morning we swept them up from paths, steps and all over the garden. The rain makes them slippery underfoot so they have to be removed, but I would remove them anyway.

We pile them on our raised beds and vegetable borders where worms and woodlice chomp away on them, depositing their nutrient-laden poo to enrich the soil: one of the reasons for our bountiful crops of cabbage, lettuce, potatoes, rocket, spinach and runner beans this year without added or artificial fertiliser and with minimal damage from slugs and snails.

While fallen leaves suggest death and decay, they are part of the active renewal of life that occurs over winter in preparation for new growth in the spring – a bit like businesses working hard to maintain their resilience during recession so they can emerge in good health when trading conditions improve.

While tending the beds, I spotted a number of worms – more than we used to see – and it’s good to know they and insects are thriving and, hopefully, maintaining a healthy local ecosystem in our garden.

With reference to my post about rainwater capture, when seeing so many leaves and so much rainwater on the pavements and in the gutters on our walk this afternoon, once again I though what rich resources are all around us that we ignore.

How many more worms could be banqueting on this abundance?

All benefiting wildlife, soil health, food production, rainwater drainage and even health and fitness – gathering up leaves provides an enjoyable and useful outdoor workout with exposure to fresh air and natural light.

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