People are still steaming after hearing from a DC neighborhood blogger that the city of Washington, DC is sending tons of deaf leaves off to the landfill. First quoting from the Department of Public Works website, “Bagged leaves will be placed in the landfill,” the blogger goes on:
“The article continues to say that ‘DPW collects between 8,000 and 10,000 tons of leaves between November and January each year. Most of the leaves collected by vacuum trailers are composted and recycled. More than 4,500 tons of leaves collected during the 2009-2010 leaf collection season were composted.’”
A little math tells us that they’re sending from 3,500 to 5,500 TONS of deaf-leaf organic matter to the landfill every year. So the obvious question is: Why does the city pick up bagged leaves at all? Why don’t they just require residents to rake leaves to the curb for pick-up and transport to the compost facility? And why is the blogger’s message this rather meek modest one – aimed at the homeowners, not the Department of Public Works: “Stop sending leaves to the landfill. Stop asking people to sweep them and burn them. Stop wasting this gift!”
Well, this blogger’s message is also to D.C. residents, but it’s : Let your local representatives know about this waste of natural resources – and money – and suggest that they put an end to it.
Which reminds me, I recently summed up my own advice about What to do with your Dead Leaves, including a bit of ranting about what others are advising on the subject. I mentioned the rant over on GardenRant,, of course, and got lots of commenters riled up there, too. It’s simply amazing what a hot topic dead leaves are – who’da thunk?
As an fan of Buffalo’s famous Garden Walk, I HAD to check out Baltimore’s own Garden Walk, in the neighborhood called Charles Village. This one isn’t citywide like Buffalo’s but it has the same great neighborhood feeling that Garden Walks everywhere generate, and I loved it. All accessed from the alley, these gardens are uniformly tiny but maximized like crazy. Click here for lots more photos.
Yeah, I know, it's amazing! And the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op has offered them for at least 10 years, just inside the front door, every Sunday afternoon from noon to 4 – and I never noticed. Never noticed that they were FREE, that is. Til one day I was standing in line and heard someone yell "Raise your hand if you want a free massage" and I found my sore gardener's arm shooting up to claim the service. (My sore gardener's back seconded that emotion.)
So here you see the result – not that very day but the next Sunday, too, with lots more Sunday massages to come. The massage therapist is Nicole Zeigler, totally qualified and a delightful person to boot.
What other grocery store buys four hours of massage therapists' time every week? Or offers frequent free events in the store, like story-telling and movies? Nicole thinks this store can do it because it's a co-op, so profit margins aren't the only concern.
My only complaint? The young (male) clerk who suggests to customers of a certain age that they take advantage of the senior discount. Just post it, buddy, don't ask.
My story about Baltimore’s City Hall Garden is actually here on GardenRant. These are the extra photos I couldn’t resist posting.
Lettuce and window box photos by Angela Treadwell-Palmer. That’s Angela tackling the beans.
I knew that Joe Lamp’l and the gang from Fiskars were doing a garden "makeover" yesterday in Baltimore, and turns out it was a totally cool thing – story coming soon. But til then, here’s some shots of sweaty middle-aged men hard at work making the Oliver Neighborhood Community Garden a reality. I like ‘em hot and dirty, don’t you?
Joe’s on the right wolfing down some classic American picnic food. In the shot below with the new raised beds in the background is Paul Tonnesen, president of Fiskars in North America.