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‘Nurture fresh thinking for a healthy world’

SHS Garden Journal Blog

Permaculture Principle: Catch and Store Energy

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It is highly appropriate that we have chosen this Permaculture Principle to focus on during March, with Earth Hour making switching to renewable energy a focus this year. We should all consider solar power as an option for our households and workplaces. Aside from the environmental effects of generating electricity, the increase in electricity prices is reason enough!

In relation to our gardens, March is a great time to 'catch and store energy' with the arrival of autumn, and the abundance of autumn leaves that fall to the ground. 

Leaves that fall onto our garden beds provide beneficial free mulch to protect our soil reducing the amount of water we use. The leaves create a forest floor in our garden beds enhancing the first layer of organic matter in our soil. Earthworms love to feed on leaf litter in the garden, decomposing the leaves to create nutrients for our garden soil. The leaf litter provides all garden critters with habitat so that they are able to keep our garden ecosystem healthy.

Leaves that fall on hard surfaces such as footpaths, gutters or pavers can be collected and used as a valuable resource for creating healthy garden compost. Carbon materials (such as leaf litter) are an important addition to our compost system. A healthy compost system consists of a mixture of nitrogen and carbon ingredients to promote successful decomposition rates and a thriving ecosystem.

Involve Your Children:

While we have such an abundance of autumn leaves, we can encourage children to help us rake the leaves, collecting and storing them for use throughout the year. Talk to them about the importance of 'making hay whilst the sun shines' ie we are catching and storing a resource that we can use when it is not naturally available.

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