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Building Foundations

October 22nd, 2015

This week I’ve been working on building the foundation for next year. I’ve been spending my time pulling out any remaining weeds and adding a thick layer of compost or chopped leaves and grass clippings over the garden areas.
mulching 1
The edible garden areas are getting 3-4 inch thick layers of compost and the fruit trees are getting a 6-10 inch layer of chopped leaves and grass.
mulching 2
Not only will this feed the soil for my crops next year, I will have fewer weeds to deal with as well. In my experience, chopped leaves are the best weed suppression material. I’ve been putting them on my garden in fall for years and am amazed by how easily they keep spring weeds away. It’s nice to know that in spring my garden will be ready for planting, I love getting these chores out of the way in fall.

What do you use as a mulch to protect and feed your soil during the winter?

5 Comments to “Building Foundations”
  1. Nebraska Dave on October 22, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Susy, I too use the leaf/grass mixture for mulch. I like to put about a foot over the growing areas of my gardens. By spring it’s composted down to about four inches. I don’t till it into the soil but just let it continue to compost down during the growing year. I do move the mulch aside to plant the seeds into the soil. By Fall, the leaves are almost totally composted down into top soil. I use very little fertilizer during the growing season as the continuing breakdown of the leaves and grass supply most of the plant needs.

    Have a great garden mulching day.

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  2. Jennifer on October 22, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    This will reveal my novice level but do the leaves have to be chopped? I have small raised beds and I was wondering how to protect my soil until spring. How do you chop leaves anyway?

    Reply to Jennifer's comment

    • Doug on October 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Technically they don’t have to be chopped, but they should be as they break down a lot faster. One of the easiest ways to chop leaves is to pile them up and run them over with a lawnmower a few times. The smaller the leaf shreds, the faster they will break down. Some people use a leaf shredder, but if you don’t have one the lawnmower method works just fine.

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    • Susy on October 23, 2015 at 9:28 am

      I usually chopped them with my mower, in fact that’s how I gather them, no raking. They break down faster and you don’t have to worry about them matting together and getting as slimy.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. John on October 24, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I’ll also chime in and vouch for the value of chopped leaves as an over-winter mulch. We gather the leaves with a mower, than put them in a garbage can and use a string trimmer/weed whacker to shred them even more. All of the raised beds get a nice thick layer, then I place a piece of chicken wire or other portable metal fencing material on top to hold the chopped leaves in place, and a nice big brick or two to keep it weighted down (it gets windy here in North Dakota). My garden soil has never been happier or more productive.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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