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15 March 2013

Mulch Adventures

Winter Chard in Mar2013After all the persistent snow and cold, my cold season crops wintered over well most likely because of the insulating value of the snow and the mulch of chipped leaves.  Chard, spinach, onions, carrots, and of course garlic all made it through.  I am anticipating tasting the spring greens soon. 

Last year I used a layer of straw to keep the leaves in place and moist enough so they would be composted by spring.  I was happy with the results especially since the winter was so warm.  However, some nasty weeds showed up and I decided to try something different .

This year I covered the leaves on the beds with the light weight crop cover cloth.  It kept everything in place but did not create a good environment for composting the leaves.  Perhaps I could use black plastic but for me that is getting even further from a sustainable way of gardening.    

It’s funny how gardening demands the attention to details that one would like to come easy.  I don’t know what I will do next fall but my solution for now is to strip the leaves from the garden and start an new compost pile and use the existing materials from my bin composted over winter.  I have plenty of chicken manure from winter coop cleaning to add to the leaves. 

Maybe this is the best solution after all.