Monday, April 13, 2009

Mulch and Cultivation Tips

How many gardeners love to receive a big pile of manure? Or get stars in their eyes when they find good composted and mulched leaves? How about it? Is this you? I bet it is! Or you would not be reading this blog.

The above pile of composted, shredded, oak leaves is about 20 feet long, by 10 feet wide, by 4 feet deep. Talk about a goldmine! Problem is that it is in my neighbor's yard. I finally got up the nerve to stop and ask the neighbor if he had plans for his pile. He jokingly said no, and that he kind of liked his pile there. I think he thought I was going to tell him he should do something with it and that it was an eyesore for passersby on my road. Not so at all! You really should've seen the look on his face when I asked him if I could have those composted leaves and how I'd dearly love to see them in my garden. Wiping the drool here now. He might have been a bit astonished. I mean it is not everyday a stranger stops by your house to beg you to let them have your dirty ole leaf pile in the front yard. A deal was struck, and lucky me!!

Out comes the handy trashcan. This pile was so thick and full that it takes about two minutes to load the leaves into this trashcan. I simply scoop them up with my hands. While doing this I got a bit of a shock when I saw something slithery moving quite quickly out of my way. At first I thought it was a snake as it was so fast. Then I thought maybe slugs since it was so big and slimy. A bit more digging revealed the truth-worms! Big fat juicy worms. My neighbor just happens to be a fisherman and retired First Sergeant. Maybe he should take up worm farming? Some of those worms came home with me-intentionally too. I don't think he'll miss them-do you?

Into the truck the leaves go-one trashcan after another. Then into the garden on top of many layers of newspapers. I am so determined NOT to water this summer that I am willing to do a bit of hard work this time of year in order to avoid mucho watering and weeding this summer. That's what I keep telling myself as I haul these leaves. It really helps me to be motivated too! Don't mind the big rock. It too found a home in my garden.

The whole point of this post is to tell you to get out there and mulch now in order to avoid weeding and watering this summer when it is hot and dry and yucky. Most of the mulch I applied last fall in the form of uncomposted leaves, has blown away. All my gardens up close to my chain link fence (away from the wind) have tons of leaves, but the gardens further into the yard are bare. These leaves I just got will stay put and add super good organic matter to the gardens and save this gardener a bunch of work later on in the season. Like Nike says, "Just do it!" Excuse me, I have to get back to mulching....

in the garden....

Today is my grandson's birthday, and I want to wish him a very happy HAPPY #2!!!


  1. Mulch is on my agenda this week. Got some done during the winter, but now it is time to be serious about it. Have fun with the composted leaves!!

  2. and Happy Birthday to your grandson!!! (You are not old enough to have grandchildren, by the way) :-)

  3. Good morning Janet, I hope your day is great. We are getting rain-not a bad thing but not too much mulching today:( Probably just digging or house cleaning. You have fun mulching too. It is so satisfying when it is done! I am in my mid 40s, but how I wish I were not of the grandmother age:)) I just can't do what I used to be able to do anymore. Very frustrating and where does the time go? Before I know it the whole day is gone and nary a thing is accomplished. Sigh.

    Everyone have a super day!

  4. Hubby started collecting fallen leaves last fall. We have them in a bin..just waiting for that good mulch!
    Happy 2nd Birthday to your grandson! :)

  5. Very resourceful of you, Tina! My neighbor has a big pile of bricks that I've been eyeing. It's been there for years. Do I dare ask?

    Thanks for the mulch tips. I'm so focused on planting this time of year that I forget to do things that will help down the road.

    Hope your grandson has a wonderful day!!

  6. Lucky you! All that beautiful brown gold! I remember finding composted leaves and taking home bags of them...This will be a good week to mulch...with rain today and sunny most of the rest of the week! Two is a delightful age...I hope your boy has a good birthday! gail

  7. Mornin' Tina, first happy birthday to your little guy - 2 what a great age to just hold and squeeze 'em (if ya can catch'em).
    All around the lake in the middle of town the yards are just covered with leaves that I know they have to dispose of and I've thought about taking some off their hands but never have - we get a few from my Crimson King Maple. Does it help a lot with keeping the weeds down? Maybe Mr. Bob would be more agreeable if he heard that. ;-)
    Thanks for stopping by this morning. Linda

  8. Happy Birthday to your Grandson! I have to say I love those leaves! Free mulch and compost, not to mention worms what a deal!

  9. Happy birthday, little two-year-old! Hope you get to spend some time celebrating with him, Tina, and that you had a happy Easter weekend.

    Gardeners are a strange lot, aren't we? I can just see the look on your neighbor's face when you offered to clean up his old pile of leaves:) But I'd say you got a bonanza there, complete with earthworms! This makes me want to go outside and spread more mulch on the garden, but it's pouring rain so I guess it will have to wait for another day.

  10. Hi Tina, you found the mother-load;) Doesn't it amaze you that people want to get rid of leaves and grass clippings? Their trash is our treasure.

  11. JACKPOT!! Happy Birthday to the little one.

  12. Yes, a truckload of manure or mulch or compost would be right up my alley. And straight into my beds! Hope your Easter was happy and included some chocolate.

  13. Happy Birthday to your grand boy! It seems like just yesterday when you posted the little man was one year old! Wow, how time flies...

    You are too funny asking your neighbor for the mulch and stealing his fishing worms as well. lol, I will not tell him about his missed worms. tee hee. I have been spreading my beloved pine straw mulch but have more bales sitting under the boat shed waiting for me to get back to GA and get busy. I am having fun with family but do miss my garden and cant wait to get back at it again. I love being in the garden this time of year as the temps are perfect for creating new things...

    Have a good day all...

  14. I bet he had a funny look on his face when you asked him for his rotten leaves. Happy b-day!

  15. I love a good free pile of the good stuff. Oohh, and worms too! You got the deal of the century. Way to go:D

  16. A grandson of that age would probably have liked nothing better than to get to jump straight into that big pile of leaves. At that age I don't think they understand yet that they're supposed to like electronics!

  17. Good deal on the leaves!!!

    Happy, happy birthday to my great grandson. He is in daycare today and his mother did not want to have his party on Easter so he had a long and great weekend with his party on Saturday and then yesterday being Easter. He was so cute opening all his presents. What a change in just the just over 3 months since Christmas. His mother brought all the food, paper plates and plastic sliverware and did the cooking and cleaned up!! I may not be Rose Kennedy but I am the matriarch of this family and there have been many, many birthday parties in this house but with me doing the cooking and a lot of the cleaning up so I said, "This is as great as it gets!!!". My old age does have some bennies. Now today he gets a party at day care. He is such a joy and I sure will miss him when they move. Boohoo:<(

  18. Linda, They are the best!

    JGH, Go ask him! The worst he can do is say no and give you a funny look:)

    Gail, I've been so busy I am a bit overwhelmed with the garden. Don't know why since I have all my cuttings planted and most things fairly done. I keep piling it on for some reason. Gotta stop I guess.

    Linda, Oh yes! Leaves on top of newspapers makes a BIG difference in weeds. Any weeds that do pop up are very easy to pull. I say work now-relax later. When it is hot here I am not in the garden much. My goal. Come summer I let the garden do its thing and because I prepared it well in the spring, it works well. Try it out.

    Dave, Pure gold for a gardener! And free too!

    Rose, Oh yes, he was a bit confused. Remember I live in the country-where most folks burn their leaves and think you most strange to want to grow ornamentals. It has been a good deal for me though. My grandson is in Maine close to his great grandparents so they had a big party for him this past weekend. He'll be moving here this fall. Can't wait and thanks.

    Marnie, This guy is pretty meticulous with his lawn and has some nice gardens actually. He just lets the leaves lie though. It is too bad. A boon for me though for sure.

    Darla, Thanks!

    Monica, A good weekend indeed-in the garden with a bit of relaxing after. No chocolate. My Easter bunny was gone long before Easter:)

    Skeeter, You stand nothing to lose by asking I think. I have stopped by some neighbor's homes and commented on their gardens only to be looked upon not favorably. Funny too. All I did was say how beautiful the flowers were. No explaining folks but this guy was a good sport. The family now calls me the "Leaf Lady". Sure fits. Ha! Have a great visit and safe trip on your way back to your GA garden. I know those pine needles are calling your name.

    Dawn, Yes he did! Folks don't understand what kind of value leaves have. And to think I used all mine and now need to get some from neighbors. But these are such fine quality. Mulched, shredded and really dark. Good stuff! Better than mine since I have no patience. He's only 1/2 mile from me too.

    Heather, I have been most busy getting leaves and it looks like a long term supply for me too. The really good part! They look nice in the garden. I hope your HUGE veggie garden is coming along well. I think you might want to find some leaves soon. I wish I had so much room as you-work or not!

    Have a good day all and thanks for the good wishes for Joshua!

  19. Brenda, Yes! Jumping in a big pile of leaves must be funner than playing on computers. I can have him go on a 'Worm' Treasure hunt!

    Mom, You are going to have come and visit him down here! I think it so awesome he has been up there near you all. Glad the party went well and you could relax!

  20. oh i am so jealous of this wonderful leafy mulch. it looks like heaven...your garden will be eating it up.
    hope you had a wonderful easter.

  21. I have lots of those! Large oaks and a white pine are all i have in my yard.

  22. That's great, I bet he was happy and lucky you! I've been slowly adding mulch to my front beds this spring. If the weather is nice tomorrow I'll be adding more.

  23. Aren't unexpected gardening bonuses wonderful? Mulch is definitely a gardener's friend.

  24. Oh Yes I would also be excited seeing all that wonderful dirt/rotted leaf matter and those worms!!!! Your garden will love ya!!
    Happy birthday to your sweet 2 year old grandson!! xo

  25. Happy Birthday to one of the cutest little guys!!!! I am so happy that you were able to celebrate with him Jean --what a cute, cute age!!! And, Tina I know you will have a blast showing him all the cool bugs and critters in the garden. A stormy day today --I hope it doesn't get too wild. And, I actually chuckled when I read about you wanting his pile of leaves --imagine how happy he was when you carted them off --what a goldmine --I had to buy mine again this year, lol. Ciao!

  26. Hi Tina~

    Lucky you! Looks like you hit the gardeners jackpot with all those leaves and the extra worms too! Your garden is going to be so nourished.
    Have fun! ~ Karrita

  27. It's funny that we did just the same things with our neighbors last week. Every other year they remove the bark mulch from their beds and replace it with fresh stuff. I guess they like the look of fresh bark better? Anyway, we begged them to let us have a trailer-load of old bark (that was headed to the dump) to add to the mulch rings around all our new trees. I don't care if it looks old or has a few pine needles and leaves mixed in!

  28. You lucky gardener to have a neighbor like that. That is one gorgeous pile of mulched up leaves. Your garden is going to love you for adding all that yummy organic material. ;) Happy Birthday to your grandson!

  29. Hi Tina, you sure hit the jack pot with all those leaves & worms to boot. Your garden will be the richest in the neighborhood.
    A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Josh. I hope you had a big cake for your special day.

  30. Oh Tina, what a haul! And the rock is quite nice too, how ever did you get it into the truch? Those leaves and worms will work wonders. I would have done exactly the same thing. Good for you carrying a trash can. You are so smart. :-)
    And a very happy birthday to the little grand!

  31. Marmee, Good Easter and you too! The garden is loving the leaves.

    Flwrgirl, Oaks and a pine? That is all you need for some really good stuff indeed:)

    Catherine, That mulching is a long task-but oh so worth it.

    Sweet Bay, Oh yes-I probably couldn't garden if it weren't for mulch. Love the stuff.

    Naturegirl, Hello and welcome! We gardeners just tend to go nuts for mulch huh? Thanks for the well wishes for the little guy. He is a sweetheart and the next generation of gardeners for sure.

    Anonymous, Hello there! I do hope you are doing well. If it gets too wild it will tough crawling in that little hole so stay safe and hope for the best. Looks okay so far, just good rain for the garden. Love it! Yes, Josh is so cute-you'll get to meet him for sure once he moves down here. Hopefully my mother will visit too so we can all get together. I need to stop by sometime-I have some bags of special things from you from a few of our favorite bloggers. Just to drop off as it is all in my car-not the safest place with my mess in there.

    Karrita, I hope the garden is good to go-no water and no weeds-yeah right!

    VW, What a boon for you to get the neighbor's old stuff. The more leaves and pine needles mixed in the better, plus it is more seasoned-perfect!

    Racquel, I hope the garden is happy-my back, not so but it is okay. Thanks on the well wishes for the little guy.

    Lola, You made it back okay? I hope your trip was a good on the way back as it was up here and so so glad to have been able to get together with you and your lovely granddaughter. Skeeter is out of town but has all the pics. I think she will post when she can get the chance. It was a nice get together indeed. Yup, my garden is pretty rich alright, tons of organic matter and worms. It is amazing how many.

    Frances, Yes! Lucky me to finally stop and ask. Now that rock. Hmmmm, fortunately Mr. Fix-it is enterprising. He rigged two 2x4s on the back of the truck and we (me, him and Jimmy) rested the rock on another 2x4 and kind of slid/pulled it up the ramp-we almost got it when a neighbor saw us struggling and ran over to help. Such a nice guy. Downloading pretty easy, just roll off the truck and roll into place. It is heavy! It was my intent to have our name engraved on it, but you must first have one side smooth, a big expense so I forego that wish. It is a big thing in Indiana; which is where the rock came from and many gardens have rocks engraved there. Monument carvers do it for a fairly reasonable price, the cutting is another matter. Oh well.

    Anyhow, you all take care and thanks for all of your very nice comments and the chit chat today!

  32. Tina, job well done! Mulching is a great way to conserve water and keep down those pesky weeds. And your mulch sounds like it is getting a good start toward composting of it already has worms in it.

  33. Oh Tina, I AM drooling at the sight of all that amazing mulch. We're facing potential water restrictions this year, so I'll be thinking about mulching more. And as an admirer of shapely garden rocks, I'm envious to see that as well. It's going to be a nice quarter-ton chunk of nature plopped in the garden.

  34. Thanks Anonymous, it is a very cute age and I am so thankful for the 2 years I have had with him!!
    However, I wish I could get my hands on your new cutie patootie!!

    Welcome back Lola, we missed you but I am glad you got to go to TN for a good visit.

  35. Hmmmm... Great read, but mulching here would bring all the nonsense that you wouldn't want. Especially the darned red ants that creep into the humid areas and slugs too! Darn, how I wish I could mulch and reduce the watering!

  36. Thanks Jean, I had a wonderful time & the luncheon with the girls was the most. Your girl is one of a kind. No wonder your buttons pop with pride.