Organic Lifestyle: Never Burn Dried Leaves

Never, never burn dried leaves or branches. Never throw them away for the garbage trucks to collect. The principle in organic gardening is, everything derived from the soil must return to the soil. The moment you get rid of dried leaves or cut off branches by burning or throwing them, you subtract something from the soil. That's less soil nutrient. Nature needs to recycle itself for sustenance. You need to give back to nature what you took out of it.

The best way to get rid of dried leaves is to compost it and reuse it as soil--put the compost back to the earth. How about large branches of trees? Well, you may have other uses for them. But  the leaves and stems and small branches should go back to the soil. Anyway, composting is easy--just gather all the leaves, fruits, small branches together in a hole in the ground and let them all rot there for 1 or 2 months. Then they turn into a powerful organic fertilizer. Better if they produce earthworms.

Talking of earthworms, I remember one time seeing some pineapple farmers in Tagaytay killing off earthworms, believing with all their hearts that the worms destroyed their pineapple. We explained to them the importance of earthworms in maintaining soil health, and how virus and bacteria were what really destroyed their pineapples. They looked at us as though we were talking Martian language.

Anyway, earthworms only get into root crops when bacteria or virus start boring holes into them, producing crevices in root crops where earthworms sometimes sneak in. Then, they get blamed for it. If you see earthworms, make a culture of them and use their feces as organic fertilizer. That's what grew the vegetables you see in the pictures here.

Notice the ampalaya (bitter melon) on the upper right. No insect damage and no need to wrap the fruit up to protect from pests. Organic gardening does that--shoo insects and pests away with zero-chemical pesticides. And look at the leaves and stems--all healthy with a natural green hue. I can't wait for the leaves and stems to be cooked in a sauteed mongo recipe!

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