Make Money Raking Leaves

While getting paid for taking the leaves away, the couple also gets all of the mulch they need for their garden.

| September/October 1976

  • rake leaves
    A leaf-raking business provides both money and mulch.

  • rake leaves

Last year, we brought home 15 truckloads of leaves to use as mulch for our garden, bedding for our hens, and organic "fuel" for the compost heaps ... and we didn't pay a cent for any of it. In fact, we were paid to gather up—and haul away—these leaves!

The single yard from which all this foliage came sprawls across two acres of Lake Erie shoreline and is crowded with huge, ancient maples. the owner—who lives on the property only in the summer—can't cope with the mountains of leaves that accumulate on the lawn every fall ... so she pays us $60 to rake up and dispose of the rich, compostable waste.

We start by raking the leaves into large piles, which we quickly cover with fallen branches so that the wind can't blow them away. Afterwards—and this is one of the nice things about this job—we take all winter (and part of the spring) to haul the leaves home.

In order to keep the number of round trips (and thus our expenses) to a minimum, we found it best to pack the rakings loose—not bagged—into the bed of our Datsun pickup. We tried bagging the leaves at first, but quickly found that it took far too much time for us to sack 'em up. (When we saw how many bags we were going to need in order to haul away all our rakin's, we knew bagging wasn't practical!)

So we finally just heaped the leaves into the truck as high as possible, then packed them down firmly by stamping on them. (We'd placed a large wooden box—built to fit the truck's bed exactly—in the Datsun, thereby raising its sides almost two feet and increasing our loading capacity tremendously.)

I might mention that we found wet leaves (which, of course, are heavier than dry ones) easier to fit tightly into the pickup.

9/27/2017 8:29:29 AM

Haha, I thought $60 was a bit cheap! Then I realized this article was written in 1976! I love that good homesteading advice never seems to get outdated, other than a little inflation. :-)

9/13/2017 3:52:57 PM

I just use a lawn mower with a bag. The crushed leaves are mixed with a bit of green grass. Then I do the direct compost method by burying the leaf/grass mixture in the raised garden bed. It give the mixture time to break down over the Winter and be ready for planting in the Spring.

9/13/2017 1:54:18 PM

A word of caution to horse owners. Research the effect of the leaves that you are using for mulch on horses or your livestock. Red maple leaves are very toxic for horses. I have read that even 1 or 2 leaves blown into an area that can be consumed is very toxic.

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