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November 15th, 2016

Fall cleanup is always one of my favorite chores, especially the final mowing of the lawn and fallen leaves. Not only does it create a tidy lawn/landscape, it provides loads of valuable mulch to make spring weeding much less of a chore. Ever since I first started gardening I’ve been mixing grass clippings and chopped leaves and applying them to my compost piles and using it as mulch in my flowerbeds.
I have a much larger lawn (about an acre and a half) and loads more trees (150 acres of them), so it takes me days upon days to finish up this chore in the fall. The areas under the old apple trees got most of the mulch this year, hopefully next year they will be mostly weed free and then they can receive a dressing of compost from here on out. This is my favorite fall cleanup chore, but it’s also the most relieving to have finished as well. I finished just in time yesterday, today we’re supposed to get an inch of rain.

What’s your favorite fall cleanup chore in the garden?

Friday Favorite: New Garden Areas

January 2nd, 2015

There’s something exciting about new garden areas, even if they are only an extension of another garden area. For the past two years I’ve been mulling over my plan for the main garden back behind the garage. As I work I look at the surrounding areas, the lay of the land, the trees, etc. I plan out where access roads/paths will be, where hedges will be planted and where drainage ditches will need dug. All of these plans lay in the future, a few years down the line, but that doesn’t mean that I can start preparing. The garden in the back needs expanded quite a bit to make way for perennial borders, fences, and hedges. The pigs have helped greatly in tilling up the sod to make way for these new gardens. Now that they are finished with their work I set to work laying down cardboard with a this layer of compost.
new garden area
In the spring they will be over seeded with various cover crops that will be mowed down for a weed smothering mulch. It’s a slow process, this garden will take more than a decade to become what I see in my mind. The slow, steady process of reaching that goal is fulfilling, and it helps me learn to be patient. There is such new promise in a new garden bed, one that has only grown sod. The possibilities are endless and that’s what I’m loving right now. I just need to remind myself that it’s a slow process, because admittedly it can be disheartening at times when you left behind a place that was just reaching it’s full potential and are starting all over again. I have to relish the newness and the possibilities!

Do you have plans to expand your gardens this coming year? 

Calming Chores

October 15th, 2014

‘Tis the season for mulch making once again. When the beautiful fall leaves flutter down from their places up high I get out my trusty push mower and start making mulch. It’s a calming chore, something that goes on and one but the mindless of it allows me the time to think. I mow and empty, mow and empty, mow and empty, then I push my wheelbarrow to the place in the garden I’m covering with mulch.
It’s a chore I absolutely love this time of year, it’s time consuming, but it’s rewarding. Not only do you get to see the results of your efforts this fall with beautifully mulched garden areas, but come spring there will be virtually no weeds anywhere. That allows me to spend my spring starting seeds and planting seedlings. It’s also nice to spend as many days in the garden as possible before the snow flies. I also use chopped leaves in my various coops, the chickens/ducks LOVE them and it saves me purchasing litter at the feed store.

Do you use fall leaves as mulch in the garden? 

It’s Not a Tractor, But It Will Do

August 9th, 2014

After an unexpected rainstorm a friend ended up with a few hundred bales of mulch hay. I purchase 80 bales to help him out and because I wanted it to mulch around the apple trees and a few new garden areas I’m working on.
mulch hay 1
The bales were heavy since they were wet and pushing them up the hill in the wheelbarrow was proving to be too much work. So I hooked up the trailer and hauled hay behind my little car. It worked very well, though I had to dig deep to remember my trailer driving skills from college. With a little practice I was back in business and able to get the trailer right where I wanted it. I could have used the tractor, but it will only haul a few bales at once, I was able to fit 8 in my little trailer.
mulch hay 3
I use all the grass clippings from the lawn as mulch, but there aren’t enough of them for the areas I want to mulch so I’m always on the lookout for options. My friend’s misfortune provided me with something I needed.

What’s your favorite kind of mulch?

Seaweed Mulch

July 31st, 2014

My tomato plants in the potager behind the house are much deeper green, more compact and overall much better looking than my tomatoes plants in the main garden behind the garage. I was trying to figure out why since the soil is very similar in both gardens and the plants have been treated almost exactly the same. The plants in the back garden have actually been fertilized more than the ones in the potager.
tomato plant
Then I remembered that the plants in the potager have been mulched with seaweed from when we buy lobsters. It acts as a seaweed tea of course, every time it rains the plants get a low dose of healthy nutrients.
seaweed mulch
Seaweed is a dynamic accumulator, it also contains loads of minerals and micronutrients. I don’t harvest seaweed for my garden, but whenever I get it when we purchase lobsters it goes right around my prize plants.  Comfrey is a good alternative to seaweed if you don’t live near the ocean.  I also grow massive amounts of comfrey to use in/around favorite plants.  I always throw some in planting holes because it stimulates root growth & development.  Comfrey deserves it’s own post, more on that wonder plant later.

What’s your favorite local mulch product?

Reading & Watching

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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.