I’ve tried to figure out why there are so many topics I want to write about but nothing is coming through to the fingers and the keyboard. It’s probably because I am getting close to my trip to Germany and the task list is long and time is growing short. Autumn is well underway and after staring at that Harvest moon for several nights in a row, I was probably hypnotized into letting things be. We should all do that sometimes and not chastise ourselves for minimal check marks on the list.
I did start working on new garlic beds. I took up three of the raised beds and moved them to a new area. After cutting the grass in the new site, I layered cardboard on the ground and placed the frames upon them. It won’t matter if I finish this after my return because I can make a new soil mixture with the pile of dirt from the apple tree hole and mix with some leftover compost and leaf matter. I’m tripling the garlic plantings this year. My first season of garlic turned out better than I expected and I have ordered three ½ pounds of soft neck garlic. Three different varieties mind you. I harvested about 50 head of garlic last June and most of it was given away as gifts or I’ve used it already. I didn’t think about that when I planted them last October. Each time we plant something we learn something.
I believe most of us start cleaning up our yards and gardens, begin new compost piles, rake leaves and plant late fall crops and spring bulbs about now. But this year is different. I read a pretty good article the other day, the name and author which now escapes my memory, about leaving the garden alone until spring. By pulling up old plants and sprucing up the garden beds, we are actually doing more harm than good. We should leave the soil alone and let the old plants be. Your garden soil will be grateful you did! Spread about six inches of leaves over the garden and leave it alone. You can also plant cover crops. I did this for the first time last year in the garden. I planted a mix of field peas, common vetch, and winter rye—in the raised beds. I cut the winter crop back in the spring and hoed the rest of it under. I harvested some beautiful pumpkins this year along with beets the size I’ve never seen in my garden! The squirrels were thrilled with those pumpkins too! Sounds great for me and I can cut a few chores of the fall list.
I ordered ten 1-year old comfrey plants from Coe’s Comfrey out of North Carolina (thanks, Fruity!) and did manage to plant them around my new apple tree. Coe seems like a very interesting fellow! Now I need to place a deep layer of leaves under the tree, but I don’t have enough of my own even with what falls into my yard from my next-door neighbor. So I crafted a plan!
Tonight I walked around my neighborhood and left a flyer on several doorsteps. I want their leaves! Beginning any day now, one will find plastic bags filled with leaves dotted up and down the street. So I decided to make a flyer and ask if I could have them. They won’t do us any good being tossed in the landfill. And I need them for year-around composting and garden mulching. I let my neighbors know I will come and rake them one time only or they can dump them in my front yard. I also have conditions! No recently sprayed Round-Up or other pesticides and herbicides on the grass or area where the leaves have fallen, no dog or cat feces and I don’t want the plastic bags! I was also very selective with some neighbors because I have seen what they spray on their trees and grass and it doesn’t have a place in my yard or gardens. I’m hoping I can teach others the art of composting if they aren’t already doing so. And maybe I can help sway some of them to stop spraying chemicals throughout their yards. By the way, several times this year a plume of some awfully smelling, eye-reddening and throat-irritating shit made its way to my part of the neighborhood while I was working in the front yard. I had to leave the yard and head back into the house and I was not happy. What does it take sometimes?
And now with five days before I embark on my overseas journey, I’m not going to worry about what I complete or not! It will be here when I return and as usual I will improvise with something else to plant to start anew in the garden next spring. I don’t believe I’ll ever have an orderly and completed gardening “system” because as I’ve learned, it’s constantly evolving, just like we are!
Prost! und Auf Wiedersehen!