At Mezzacello, we have a fence line that abuts the alleys to the south and west of the property. This is our front line for invasive species of vining weeds like poke, wisteria, and belladonna. I also store donated bags of leaves from neighbors, and piles of weeds to dry and die in the summer sun out here. When I process these areas, it’s a huge benefit to allow the chickens and the ducks to join me out there. Firstly they love it. Secondly, they eat all those snails, slugs, grubs and other bugs out there. The chickens love to scratch at baby poke and wisteria, and the ducks love to loosen up the dirt and get their bills in and under the piles of weeds. All of this makes collecting and mulching the leaves and weeds for input into compost MUCH easier and way more fun.

Trash and plastic removed from leaf litter. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

One of the bad things about collecting leaves and weeds from the fence line of an urban property – or even from my neighbors – is the huge amount of trash and plastics in it. I have posted about this before here. It is really disheartening how much trash gets blown around. It’s hard to recycle, dangerous to burn, and generally just a nuisance. And frankly, the syringes and plastic gloves that are part of this fringe trash are alarming. But I need that biomass and I have to deal with real-world problems on the daily. I would really love to know what the rest of you are doing with this detritus. Leave me a comment, won’t you?

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