Smarter Living Tip: Bags of Black Gold

We’re approaching mid-November and the time here in Metro Atlanta when leaves are everywhere. I often awaken in the morning to the sound of leaf blowers. (Whatever happened to the quaint use of a broom which neither spoils the blissful morning air nor blows leaf particles into everyone’s hair – but that’s an entirely different article!) I see landscapers everywhere blowing, blowing, blowing leaves right into the middle of the road or even into storm sewers.

Every time I see this, I think to myself, “Don’t they know they’re throwing (and blowing) away gold?” I think I have your attention now!


When we built our new “old-style” home eight years ago, the contractors stripped away the top layer of our soil trying to even out a small hill into a level Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, my Garden of Eden soon proved to be a Garden of “Needin’” because nothing would grow. I began to compost anything I could get my hands on, which was literally tons of work. And then the fall leaves came. It was manna from heaven.

Matthew began running over the leaves from the comfort of his John Deere lawn tractor (complete with convenient beverage holder) and we left the pulverized leaves on the surface of the lawn to rot over the winter. It’s called “Lazy Man’s Compost” or better yet “Black Gold.” Little by little the soil began to change.

Now let me not lead you astray. We do not have a lawn of perfect grass. We have a lawn which is a mixture of weeds, grass, clover and yes, dandelions which is the perfect combination for our little chickies (previous blog post!). But the concept remains the same. Mulched leaves become compost with very little work so why blow them away to oblivion or worse yet, into the road where every driver with a newly-washed car will curse your name?

• You can get fancy if you want and pile them up, add water, mix some nitrogen in (to balance the carbon of the leaves) and mix, mix, mix.

• Then spread the Black Gold in the spring. But why do that if you can simply shred them and leave them?

• I can sense your comment “My HOA won’t allow it.” Then run over them several times and set some sprinklers to wash them into the grass or better yet, collect signatures to change your by-laws!

We can start being smarter with the gifts God gives us instead of insisting we know better with a trip to Home Depot.

So here’s to black gold! Send me pictures of your newly renewed lawn next spring. And a picture of your bank account when you’ve fired the lawn “professional”, stopped buying fertilizer and have established your organic vegetable garden. Then we can all sleep late without those noisy leaf blowers and live in the Garden of Eden!

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