Winter is almost here. My garden’s harvest may be over, but there is still much work to be done before the snows cover the yard. I don’t know how long I will be here, and as much as I want out of the city and into the country, as long as I am here I will be gardening and doing all I can. So before winter officially begins, it’s time to work on improving the soil for next year’s garden. This time of year everybody is bagging up their leaves and leaving them on the curb – and I’m stealing them. Each week, the two days before leaf pickup, my brother and I drive around and pick up all the bags of leaves we can get our hands on. Leaves are some the best compost component you can get, and they are free. The same people who spend hours raking and bagging leaves each fall go and buy expensive bags of fertilizer each spring. Our society is so disconnected from the cycles of life!
Well I do my best to work with Nature, not against Her. I sheet mulched the garden area, covering the dirt completely with cardboard (not-compostable clear tape removed), wet it thoroughly with the hose, and then covered it with a good five inches or so of stolen leaves. The leaves were mixed with the paper that lines my rabbit cages, and of course the “rabbit berries”, as some people call the small, dry balls of poop that the bunnies produce. At Tractor Supply Company I got 20 bags of composted manure for 50% off, each bag weighing 40 lbs. That became the final layer of new soil, which will soon be covered with insulating snow. (Actually, it already is covered with snow, but the forecast says that it will soon melt away for a few weeks, so I plan to add the composted manure layer when that happens)