Improving Soils with Leaves and Other Local Organic Wastes

Un-composted Municipal Leaves Improve Soils

Un-composted Municipal Leaves

Farmers face conflicting soil management challenges:

  • Building soil health, by minimizing tillage and optimizing crop rotations;
  • Weed control, which requires significant tillage;
  • Cash Cropping every year for economic viability, which pressures growers to chose sub-optimal crop rotations.

Finding the proper balance between these competing tensions is difficult. Frequently growers are forced to sacrifice one of these goals. Increased tillage and monoculture have been utilized to maximize short-term financial success, but this is not sustainable due to the impact on soil health.

Incorporating un-composted municipal leaves and other community organic wastes into a modified farm crop rotation is a sustainable method addressing all three goals. Using this method over the long term, farms require less tillage, fertilizer input is decreased, and risks of crop loss due to flooding, drought, and disease are decreased. The use of un-composted leaves on New Jersey soils increases farm profitability and is environmentally sound.

Muth Family Farm

Grower Bob Muth

Grower Bob Muth

Through the years, the Muth Farm has gained recognition as one of the leading regional farms in areas of sustainable agriculture, soil development, community supported agriculture, and organic farming.

The Multiple Soil Health & Economic Benefits of Applying Municipal Collected Un-Composted Waste Leaves To Farmland. A review of methods used on the Muth Family farm of Williamstown, NJ.

Additional Resources

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