Q&A: Why I Don’t Shred Leaves, The Field Trials, & Why I Narrate Videos

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In my first Q&A, I talk about why I don’t shred leaves, why we’re testing rock dust and biochar in good soil, and why I often narrate my videos.


0:18 – Why don’t you shred leaves before adding them to your hot compost pile? Wouldn’t they break down more quickly?
1:36 – Wouldn’t rock dust be more effective in poor soil than in soil that is already rich in organic matter?
3:22 – Why do you narrate your videos?

Link to Alberta Urban Garden’s video comparing trace minerals in leaves versus rock dust: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkOwPAPDAZ0

OYR is all about growing a lot of food on a little land using sustainable organic methods, while keeping costs and labor at a minimum. Emphasis is placed on improving soil quality with compost, mulch, and compost tea. No store-bought fertilizers, soil amendments, pesticides, compost activators, etc. are used.

Featured video:
“Did Rock Dust & Biochar Increase Our Yields in 2014?”

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27 Responses

  1. Kirk Johnson says:

    I have trouble with noise my garden at times too. So one of my garden tools is Bose noise cancelling headphones with an mp3 player loaded with music and lectures.

  2. The OmniscientOG of The Internet says:

    From what I've learned from Paul Stamets, is that if you have mycelium networks already in the ground, then instead of needing rock dust just having a few actual rocks should be good enough. The mycelium will actually harvest minerals from the rocks to trade to the plants for sugar. So instead of needing the dust just take a few nice size rocks and leave them on top of the soil in certain areas. Nature will do its job just like that. Also, as the mycelium takes away minerals from the rocks the rocks will become porous allowing it to hold water and air.

  3. sbarr10 says:

    Hi! How do you come up with enough green matter that late in the year to be able to heat up the leaves into hot compost? We are long done mowing our lawn by November.

    Love the kitty !

  4. Terri Jo says:

    You and your family and gardens are great!

  5. Nunya Biznis says:

    I don't understand why it bothers so many people whether or not a video is narrated.
    It never once even crossed my mind until this video. Too many people on SSRIs.

  6. Vegan Salad Girl says:

    I could watch your videos all day! Thank you Patrick & Oscar!

  7. UK Here We Grow says:

    Great tips Patrick about removing the background noises by replacing the sound altogether. I never even thought about that and could be stealing that little golden nugget for future videos. Thanks mate.

  8. Michael Todd says:

    Can you just put the leaves on the garden in the fall and let it compost over winter?

  9. Saint Michael says:

    Thank you. Fine garden you have there sir.

  10. Backyard Eden - Sustainable Urban Homestead says:

    When you have to water – how do you water your garden? Drip irrigation, soaker hoses, overhead sprinkler or hand? I mulch with leaves and I have drip irrigation – would it be smart to put the drip lines underneath the leaves or on top..will the leaves allow the water to penetrate easily? They tend to stick together

  11. Mara A says:

    My oak leaves don’t dissolve for at least 2-3 years. I may cover them with plastic. That is a good idea

  12. someone somebody says:

    I think the noise in the garden is the reason the garden looks so awesome,it stimulates lucious growth. im kidding ,nice garden!!

  13. Francis Lim says:

    Good education thanks for sharing.VOLCANIC SOIL ARE RENOWNED FOR GROWING PLANTS DUE TO ITS HIGH MINERALS CONTENT,Islands like Hawaii and some Indonesian islands produces abundance and based on that finding are that plants and dinosaurs grew big because of those richness,some gardeners recommend using HEALTHY PISS DILUTED AS A CHEAP N.P.K. SUBSTITUTE.NOT ON MEDICATIONS,SICKNESS.

  14. Gillenz Fluff says:

    I don't even bother to collect the leaves saves even more time!

  15. itshallbeknown says:

    well PLANTS RESPOND TO 'NOISE' perhaps that would be a FACTOR in your tests i? Do you have any friends in the country where it is quiet? I would be curious if that MAKES a Difference…?

  16. Srinivasan Padmanabhan says:

    Hi Patrick, so covering them in plastic cover helps speeds up the decay (in addition to shredding)?

  17. john caley says:

    Don`t sit on Glass.

  18. Ann Galbraith says:

    That leaf compost was like… MAGIC.

  19. Antoinette Wood says:

    Your videos are so informative. My favorite!

  20. Inger Haugland says:

    Love rewatching your old videos. Informative and very enjoyable. After a long day in the garden chipping branches, then a hot bath and some yoga, this was the perfect calm and comforting thing to watch as I eat my veggie soup and head off to bed. Good night ^_^

  21. herb westcott says:

    Once again, a very informative and entertaining video. Based on your narration you seem to have 6-8 weeks more time in the Autumn to work on your garden than I do in south-eastern Ontario Zone 5b. May I ask what state and zone you are located in? Thanks in advance!

  22. Artisan Creations says:

    Love a man who loves cats. Don't know how you can stand living in the city with a yard when you have a farmer's knowledge. You need acreage. You'll never go back to city life again once you move to the country. But there is noise in the country too, gunfire, chainsaws, tractors, riding lawnmowers, leaf blowers. But I'll never go back….

  23. chapman says:

    We like to listen to your videos, they are relaxing and very informative. We prefer the narration, it is quieter and your voice is prefect , not irritating.

  24. Don Duncan says:

    Back To Eden(BTE) method has proven how inexpensive/less time consuming gardening can be. I would't use any tilling, rock dust, biochar, or additives. The exception would be during the first 1-3 months, depending climate, time of year (temp). If everything is against decomposition I would use my urine for nitrogen boast or a strong fresh fertilizer (chicken or some foul) + moisture as needed. After that, I would keep adding chips as needed and sit back to let nature do the rest. Even in the worst situations, 1-2 years should have the garden producing fine using BTE.

  25. vanhalenps4 says:

    Hi what kind of tomato plant is that at 2:25? It's amazing

  26. john mizak says:

    Hi Patrick! When you make a compost pile with leaves in the fall, what green materials do you add?

  27. Sophia S says:

    Thank you for your video, it's very helpful to me! I have one question: can any leaves be used as mulch? I saw my neighbors burning their apples or peaches leaves becoz they said there's sickness or bacteria in those leaves, so can I still use the leaves from apple tree or peach tree?

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