We gathered under the trees for this week’s session in the garden. Found a bit of clean dirt on which to sit – and looked upwards. Up towards the canopy of leaves.
What did we notice about the leaves? That leaves which had been green during the long summer months, were beginning to change colour.
Looked down to where we were sitting. What did we notice there?
Brown, crisp, dry, curled leaves. Dead leaves, as Can noted.
What, we wondered, made those leaves turn brown and fall from the tree? Well, take a green leaf and tug at it.
You can tug quite hard, but the tree doesn’t let it go. But just watch for a moment; and you will see brown ones floating and twisting and curling down to the ground.
In the summer, the tree ‘sucks’ up moisture from the soil; it travels through the roots…..
up the trunk…..
and all the way along the branches to the leaves. But as the weather gets colder, the tree needs to conserve its moisture so that it doesn’t die. So it closes the little ‘trap-doors’ to the leaves, thus turning off the water supply and allowing them to shrivel up and fall off.
Now think back to what we learned last week about the ‘ingredients’ of soil. Water, air, minerals and organic matter. Organic matter, remember, is things that were once living. Things like dead leaves…..
We want to use some of this organic matter to improve our soil. We are going to have a go at composting.
Just like last week, we will work in ‘teams’…..
with each team responsible for raking up…..
and gathering the leaves…..
before putting them into buckets and carrying them…..
over to our ever-growing pile…..
and emptying them onto the top.
Next stop, rich dark well-rotted compost?