Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prepping the ground...

This time of year can be kind of depressing for gardeners...most of the crops are either harvested or dying.  The garden itself is a barren version of the lush, vibrant area you tended so lovingly all summer long. 

It may not be the prettiest thing in the world, but there is no shortage of things to do!  Preparing the soil for next year is just as important as the planning and planting you'll do in the spring.  So here is a pictorial post on the kinds of things we do to stimulate the soil right now.


I'll talk about our composting efforts in a subsequent post, but for right now I'll discuss our leaf situation.  As we live on a fairly tree-less lot in the country, we have had difficulty in getting our soil light and airy.  We keep garbage bags in the trunk of our cars in case we happen upon a stash of leaves.  We'll bring them home and add the leaves to our compost bins (of which we have 3 now).  The nice thing about the garden being empty is that you can just dump the leaves right on the garden plot!

(dumping leaves and grass cuttings directly on our patch)   
We do have some trees on our property, but luckily we have neighbours and sons.  The neighbours have the trees and they love that our sons will go and rake away those pesky fall leaves for free!  Its also hilarious to see the two boys operate the wheelbarrow and make the biggest pile they can...for jumping of course!  After the leaves have lost their jumping value...we mulch them with our lawn mower and add to compost bins or directly on the garden patch....depending on how soggy the leaves are.

my 3 yr old son Owen and our 'borrowed' leaf pile
We scavenge leaves from nearby neighbours (because we don't own a truck and because kids running through the whole town with wheelbarrows is funny) and vacant lots.  We live next door to a mechanic shop with a large parking lot lined with trees....so we clean up the town and also fill our composters too!  Its a win/win situation.  If you live in a city, the leaves are so conveniently left out at the curb on 'leaf day' for pick up from the city waste services...but why not help yourself?  Our family has often caught a neighbour filling those paper bags with their leaves...we ask nicely, take the leaves and return with the paper bags (because they aren't cheap!) AND its neighbourly!

If you start to look around, you'll start to see a leaf opportunity EVERYWHERE!

My only problem with leaves....is the endless trail of them entering my house...on little shoes...

Next post:  Soil sources for your garden...

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