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Never mind land, good soil matters far more

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IT'S the time of leaf-fall. Across the road, our neighbour’s gardener is busy with the leaf-blower. On this side of the road, my garden service is following my request to gather all the leaves and strew them across the garden’s soil.

I now have two veggie beds plumped up with a thick duvet of leaves that just scream for Calvin and Hobbes to plunge into them and kick them up in a chaotic, joyful frenzy.

It took years for the garden service to really get my obsession with grass clippings and leaves. Then about three years ago, the business owner (that very rare thing, a black garden-service owner, and a very hands-on one too) stuck a fork into the soil and showed me the rich, deep colour: “Now I understand why you want this,” he said. “It is really good for the garden.”

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