Leland woman turns community leaves into compost
The Leland Township woman then used her fork to open up some plastic bags full of leaves and continued turning them over.
“This is what happens when I’m way too busy,” said Och, who has been collecting leaves at the corner of French Road and M-204. “There will be no rest for the weary.”
The Ochs have had a community compost pile since about 1992.
“It decomposes without me,” said Och, who has been too busy this spring to spend time working the pile. “If I work at this and get it all buffed by layers of leaves and chicken manure, it’ll go from leaves to good black dirt in a matter of six weeks.”
The Ochs collect leaves and grass clippings for free. And when they are done decomposing, Och puts the compost in her garden or anywhere else her landscape could use organic topsoil.
“You can improve any soil by putting more organic matter into it. The more fertilizer and mulch, the better the soil gets and the slower the soil dries out,” said Och, who also noted a savings on her electric bill as the compost saves on garden watering. “I’m getting exercise and not paying for a gym membership, I’m saving on the electric bill and my soil is getting better.
“And I’m getting good vegetables and I know where they came from. It’s money in the bank.”
Och said getting leaves from a bunch of different sources is good. And some of the leaves are dropped off already shredded.
“If I had a leaf shredder, this would be broken down in no time,” said Och, who has a full-time job as a dealer at the casino and a part-time gig as a Leland Township trustee. “But just breaking it down into smaller particles accelerates it just as well.”
Although the Ochs would prefer the leaves be left bagless, it is still acceptable to leave them in bags. That way Och doesn’t have to worry about the leaves blowing away in the fall.
“We did bags for a while, but then my husband Richard X’d out the bag part when we put out the signs,” Och said. “We were just getting leaves until the X part fell off the sign.
“So people started bringing bags again.”