Make a Deposit in Your Living Bank

Composting Binsby Falaah Jones, Eastside Programs Coordinator

Aren’t you amazed at how much plant material you generate in your garden, especially at the end of the season? Don’t squander it, destroy it or set it on the curb for yard waste pickup! Keeping organic matter in place as mulch will save you time and money. More importantly, organic matter enriches your soil and protects it from winds and pounding rain. This cover keeps your plant roots cozy and slowly breaks down over the winter.

Rake all deciduous leaves off your lawn and into your garden beds. Remember to save some leaves in bags or bins for making compost next spring. Do not include diseased or evergreen leaves; I put my diseased apple and evergreen rhodie leaves in the yard waste bin for pickup.

If you prune small shrubs or groom perennials in the fall, chop the stems into small pieces and drop them in place. I “chop and drop” with raspberry canes, sedum tops and all herbaceous perennials like asters or Echinacea. The resulting mat helps retain moisture come summer.


Pine needles make great mulch around blueberries or other acid-loving plants. Don’t rake or blow those needles away! I like to spread them on my garden paths. You can also protect your half-hardy plants by filling wire cages with needles or sword fern fronds.

If you don’t generate much material for your living bank, rake leaves from a neighbor’s yard or use free arborist chips. The more you deposit the richer your soil will be. This Saturday’s composting class is a perfect opportunity to learn how to keep your organic garden healthy and thriving. One of the most important materials for organic vegetable gardening, compost will bring to life and improve any type of garden soil.

Originally printed in Seattle Tilth’s newsletter, Way to Grow, October-November 2011.

Composting 101Food Digester

Saturday, November 9; 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle, WA
Advanced registration required

Register now

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