To the average person, the picture at left would appear to be a child playing in dirt. But to a gardener, that pile of dirt is a pile of possibility. It's leaf compost and it was absolutely free to anyone with a way to carry it away.
All autumn long, the City of Toronto carts away bags and bags of garden waste. I'm happy to oblige the city with a few dozen or so bags. In addition to whatever I clean up in my garden, there's an enormous maple growing next door that sheds its leaves. I start raking up toward the end of October and keep going right up until December. Those leaves just keep coming and the city just keeps carting them away.
Come spring, those leaves come back to me, transformed into glorious compost. Okay, "glorious" may be a tad dramatic. Certainly, my husband would agree that such descriptions are best left to items other that dirt. Just check out his less than enthusiastic expression. But I digress. Every spring, the local city councillor holds an "Environment Day" in the neighbourhood. Free leaf compost is one of the things on offer. So, bright and early Saturday morning, I loaded my daughter into her wagon and with husband in tow, we went off to collect our black gold.
My mother came over in the afternoon. We used the compost to mulch all around the garden plants. What a difference. The compost really makes all the plants in the garden "pop." We'll do it all again in fall to prepare for the winter ahead. (As an aside, the veronica is my most favourite bloomer in the garden right now and threatening to become an all time favourite. I'm amazed every time I see it.)
I was happy to see lots of people putting bins filled with compost into their cars or loading up their children's wagons with buckets and bags. I tried to guess at what people would be growing. I'm sure I spotted a rose gardener. There was definitely a family that grows peppers and tomatoes. And I'm sure one dad and his kid were just there to get their feet dirty. Regardless of the gardening choices, it's nice to see so many people working to make the community a greener place.