Archives for posts with tag: Leaves

The autumn leaves have fallen.

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The whole family (almost) is now raking them up.

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We rake up all the leaves we can to put on the compost and to use as weed smothering mulch and worm food. They are a very valuable resource. The more the better.

We have maple, oak, birch, lilac, pear, apple, plum and cherry trees that contribute. It usually takes weeks to rake them all up, often not done until spring. Today, with all the help, we got more than half the work done already.

Then the wind came and blew it away.

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Actually, I took the tarp off, because the wind was flapping it furiously and driving me crazy. I thought it might take off and fly away. I’ll put it back on the next time it rains. It did function well the last couple of wet days.

The wind is also blowing all the autumn leaves off the trees, so I can get busy raking them up for the compost.

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Lots of leaves to rake.

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And put on the compost. The whole area gets covered.

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The dirt in one crop circle is now dug and turned over. The sunflowers are left for the birds. I feel quite satisfied.

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Some people think this looks naked – that the ground should always be covered, but it doesn’t bother me. I like the tilth that comes from the clay freezing. This garden, however, was so cleaned up before turning that I started to feel sorry for the worms.

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So I raked up and threw out a couple of wheelbarrows of leaves for the worms. It looks kinda nice too.

Fall is my favorite time of year especially after harvest. The garden slows down and goes to sleep after a good turn over. Digging (turning the dirt over) is a favorite past time and good excercise, even tho it’s muddy and threatening to freeze early. I dig until it freezes too hard to stomp the spade through. One year I was able to dig until the day before christmas eve.

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The maple leaves are beautiful now. Not just as clouds of orange in the landscape, but also as huge piles raked together and then as a covering on all the compost piles. In fact, these leaves along with oak, ash, elm and other leaves constitute a good portion of the compost. They make good worm food.

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I’ve been meaning to write about my compost but the pictures never turn out good enough. It’s probably because the area becomes rank and neglected this time of year. Here are some bad ones anyway.

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Here is the long pile in the process of growing. We pile just about anything organic on in random layers. Like: kitchen waste, garden waste, leaves and twigs, non-invasive weeds, green manure, animal manure, black dirt, and a little of the likes of rock powder, seaweed, bone meal etc.

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I have a two year system of composting. This one is in its second year. It will be turned over for airation soon and then put out onto the gardens in the spring. I have the two year system so that I don’t have to turn it over all the time (speading it up).

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This also means it can become neglected. As you can see in the pictures, pumpkins, potatoes, flowers and weeds grow from seeds that have survived and can take over during the summer. Some can be eaten the rest goes into the next compost. The fall turnover takes place after the frost kills off these plants.

The main ingredients of the compost are leaves, corn and pumpkin plants with manure or black dirt to balance it off. After two years it becomes a course loamy compost presumably rich in nutrients but appreciated mainly for it’s soil improvement qualities.