Posts Tagged ‘leaf mulch’

Garlic Planting in Fall in Wisconsin

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Ridged Bed for Garlic Planting

Ridged Bed for Garlic Planting

I try to plant garlic in late October. This year we were a day late and the garlic went into the ground on the first of November. I had previously prepared the bed so all I had to do was soften the soil a little and with a steel rake make three relatively equal ridges running the length of the beds. The garlic was shoved into the top of the ridges until it was just covered. I also scattered a lot of lettuce seeds, salads greens and cilantro along all the slopes and valleys. These will sprout in the spring and fill the bed with greens. Essentially, I’ll get two crops out of one bed.

Garlic Bed Paths Mulched with Leaves

Garlic Bed Paths Mulched with Leaves

After I had the bed planted, I raked in a tarp full of leaves and mulched all the paths around the bed.

Straw Protects the Garlic Through the Winter

Straw Protects the Garlic Through the Winter

I finished the job by scattering a small square bale of straw over the ridges. The straw will protect the garlic from hard freezes.  When all goes well, the garlic will be poking its leaves up as the snow melts. And as I rake back the straw and leaves, we’ll start getting lettuces and greens for early spring salads.

I’ve been using this method for quite a few years. It works very well. Here are earlier references: Garlic 2010    Interplanting Garlic with Greens



When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

In the village that borders us a few blocks to the west and south, leaf burning is prohibited, but it is allowed and practiced as a seasonal rite in our township.  I’m not advocating a ban on burning, but I really wish the neighbors understood what they are wasting.  While I was working hard today to get as many leaves as I could into my garden, I could see at least four smoke trails in the neighborhood.  Too bad for the leaf burners, they could be making some beautiful compost for free.

I spent a lot more time weeding my garden this year than I should have because I did not do a good job last fall of getting my beds totally covered with leaves.  I’m determined not to make that mistake again.  Since I took the picture above I’ve drug in several more tarps full of leaves.  The south beds are now almost all completely and deeply covered.  I’ll keep dragging in more until I either run out of leaves or the weather puts an end to my efforts.

I began covering my garden beds with leaves about seven or eight years ago.  It pays off in many ways.  Weed growth is slowed down through the winter and the beds are noticeably softer in the spring.  In many instances all I have to do is rake back the leaf cover and start planting.  The beds that do not get planted right away have a thick leaf mulch to keep weeds from sprouting, and as I rake the leaves off the beds they break down in the paths and continue to suppress weed growth.  Of course, the most important benefits are the free fertilizer and compost the leaves provide as they decompose.  The tilth of my extremely clayey soil is noticeably improved.  Every year my beds get softer.

Raking leaves and dragging them into the garden is not the easiest  of chores.  This year I’ve employed mechanical assistance.  In years past I was dragging tarps full of leaves from the yard to the garden using only my brute strength.  I may still be a brute but my strength is fading, so this year I used the lawnmower and its 18 horses to do the heavy hauling.  It worked wonderfully.

And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song, but I know the autumn leaves are in the garden, where they belong.