Leaves & Wind
Posted By: Paul 08/12/2009 09:31:00
October already, and for the gardener the first things that come to mind when you say the word October are leaves and wind.
In no time every leaf on the nearby trees will descend into your garden, where they will clog up the flower beds and ponds. What's more the day you allocate to sweep up the pesky foliage will turn out to be the windiest day of the the year, and you'll have more chance herding cats than collecting the leaves. Assuming you catch one or two of them, what should you do with them? Leaf mould is a great use for them and can be made by building a cage with chicken wire and filling it with leaves, then cover with another piece of wire to prevent the leaves blowing away. It is also possible to fill a black garden bag with leaves and punch a few holes in it to let worms and moisture in. Another use is to put them into the compost heap, but keep an eye on the amount of Brown (carbon rich) matter in the bin and make sure you have an equal mix of Green (Nitrogen rich) matter to keep the heap healthy. What I tend to do to keep the mix right is to mow the lawn while it's covered with leaves and then I end up with a nice chopped up blend of green and brown. I almost hesitate to mention this but if you are running short of Nitrogen rich material then urine can be used to enrich it. Do it indoors and deliver it to the heap rather than adding it directly as it may upset the neighbours. While we are on the subject you should be ordering manure to dig into the vegetable plots. Try to get a manure and straw mix if possible as the manure and wood chips mix robs Nitrogen from the soil as the wood decomposes.
Other jobs in October will include cutting down harvested fruit canes and bringing tender herbs under cover for use through the winter.
This weeks video from Claire's allotment is about building raised beds and she is using leaves to improve the quality of her soil. Whilst I was watching her video it occurred to me if she was to use a tyre full of manure/straw mix which was decomposing and producing heat then she could sow some lettuce and radish over the winter. You would just need to cover the top of the tyre with a pane of glass or some plastic to keep the heat in.