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People in the cities across India are growing their own food. If not all, but at least some vegetables, salads, herbs.
They utilize their terraces, balconies for this purpose.
Where to get soil for this? Buying soil is very expensive. And not very ideal for ecosystem.
These determined gardeners have found a solution for this. They utilize compost made using dry leaves and kitchen waste. Some of them use part soil and part compost, some use only compost, without any soil.
Since you are on this page, you are either one such gardener or wish to be a gardener.
For you, challenge is, how to get all these leaves for your garden, right?
Leaves are available in abundance from mid-winter till June. Streets, footpaths, in fact, every horizontal surface in the sight is covered with dry leaves.
yet, getting “only dry leaves” i.e. without any garbage like plastic, papers, wrappers, sachets is difficult.
And you might not be comfortable collecting dry leaves from the street. Yes, I am with you on this.
So leaves that fall on the public places, though are easily available, are difficult to source.
Then what is the solution?
As you are worried about getting leaves, there are people around you who wish to “get rid of” dry leaves. It is a classic demand-supply problem.
And these people are everywhere. Your neighbors, people in your lane, in your neighborhood, your friends, relatives.
So, availability and requirement, both exist in the same city.
And that is why we created Brown Leaf forum in Pune city, to exchange dry leaves from “People who have dry leaves” to “People who want dry leaves”
Want to read our story? Here it is Brown Leaf Story
We have around 600 members in Pune city now. Till now, thousands of gunny bags of dry leaves are exchanged through this forum. All this leaf-exchange happens without any financial transaction. Nobody pays anybody any money. We are simply helping each other. Some people have dry leaves in surplus and some people need them. It is as simple as that.
Okkay, now back to you.
If you are in Pune, you can definitely become a member of this forum.
But that is not mandatory. I will provide you some pointers on how to get dry leaves.
And if you are not in Pune city, then you have 2 options. Use the pointers below to get dry leaves and if you like this concept, create such a forum in your own city. How’s that?
But okkay, I don’t want to scare you right now. Why not we focus on “getting dry leaves” part first?
As I said, leaf-donors exist everywhere. Anybody who has large trees is your leaf-donor.
Just take a stroll in your neighborhood and you will spot these donors. Sometimes, you will sense acrid smoke coming out of your neighbor’s backyard, where they are burning off heaps of dry leaves. Sometimes, you will find large heap of dry leaves dumped by your neighbor on the side of the road.
Just approach these people and tell them you need dry leaves for your garden.
If you are not comfortable just approaching people like this, then social media is your best option.
Draft a msg and circulate to your contacts and on whatsapp groups. And just wait. I promise, you won’t need to wait for long. In no time, your phone will start ringing.
Of course, I don’t suggest going to your neighbor, sweep dry leaves from their premises and bring them back.
Even leaf-donors should do their part. I.e. they should collect and pack dry leaves in bags. They should ensure leaves are segregates means there is no plastic, paper, wrappers or any water material mixed with the leaves.
And as a leaf-taker, it would be your responsibility to respect the time given by your leaf-donor for leaf-pickup. If for some reason, you are not able to, do inform them.
And, return the empty gunny bags later or when you go to pick up leaf bags, hand over equal no. of empty gunny bags to the donor. Donors can’t keep buying gunny bags for every leaf-exchange.
How to arrange for all these gunny bags? Go to your regular grocer and ask for sugar gunny bags. They are big and quite sturdy. Your grocer might give it to you for free or might charge some small amount.
You need to do this only once since you would be reusing these bags.
Here, let us help you with the message part to get you started.
I want a lot of dry leaves for mulching or composting in my garden
If you have dry leaves, I will be happy to collect them from you.
Such exchange system is successfully working in Pune city. You can read about it here, https://brownleaf.org/story-how-brown-leaf-started/
if you wish to read more about leaf-donation, here is the link, https://brownleaf.org/how-can-we-help-2/
You need to collect leaves in gunny bags and make sure leaves do not contain any garbage. Do reply to this msg and we will fix mutually convenient time for leaf-pickup.
I will bring along empty gunny bags to replace the ones I collect from you.
My details as below->
I stay in ............. area.
Contact number: .............
Here is an infographic that explains the whole concept.
If you find it useful, feel free to share it along with your msg.
(To download, right click on the image and do “save image as”.)
If you are not a gardener yet and wish to start a garden, do you need any help?
It is not really very difficult. The green thumb and all is quite hyped up.
If you want to, you can certainly grow plants.
Again, start small. Herbs are quite easy to grow and low maintenance creatures. Start with them. Morning tea with freshly cut lemon grass from your balcony? it is amazing, isn’t it?
You can use soil if available, if not you can create garden using compost from dry leaves and kitchen waste. Many such soil-less gardens are blossoming all over India.
Download our free guide or watch our video series to help you get started with composting, Dry Leaf Composting Resources
Still not sure? here is a blog for you, by Guest Blogger Reema Gopalan. I am sure she will convince you 🙂 Do give it a read, https://brownleaf.org/lets-talk-gardening/
Here is one more great idea for you by our Brown Leaf member, Mr. Vivek Bapat from Pune. You can use things already available with you, like a 5 litre mineral water bottle and a few sprouted onions.
How’s that? 🙂