2000 Posts and climbing!!!
Join Date: Feb 2012
Re: Garden 2019
I have to agree with Country1966 on the leaves & grass. Here are a couple pictures of what tomatoes, and pepper plants that survived a torrential downpour earlier in the year, that wiped out about 1/4 of what I set out. I put about 6" of leaves around my tomatoes, but being short of leaves to do the rest, I went with grass taken from my yard. My neighbor who has a lawn service also provides a leaf pick-up service to his customers. Bringing leaves to me, saves him driving 1/4 around the city of Columbus, to dump those leaves as a private company compost facility. A win-win for both of us. Being his wife also gardens to sell produce to his upscale customers, she also now gets more than several loads of leaves, hence the reason I ran short.
I have a lot of grass to mow here, so might as well put it to use. Last year, I bought an older Mow & Vac, which works great for $200. It's sort of like making hay. mow one day,and either pick it up later that evening,when it dries, or, the next day. Then mulch around plants with it. Grass will suppress weeds for approx. 6-8 weeks, then needs dressed up. Leaves are good for all summer. I love the fact that I literally have to look for weeds. It also helps protect the soil and plants from heavy downpours, as far as saturating the soil. It will shed the heavy amount of water, yet let well enough down to keep the soil nice & moist. With the mat of leaves on that thick, I can walk out among the plants right after a heavy rain, and not sink in. And as he also mentioned, the soil if full of Red Worms, and Night crawlers that leave their castings, which is natures best fertilizer.
If you look back at post #85, you will see what is left of those leaves from last year. There is approx. 2-3 inches of broken down compost left. I plan to plant Peas,and Beans in that patch, probably next week. The plan is to use my Warren Hoe, to make a V row down through that compost, then sow the Peas. As they grow, I'll pull that compost in close around them. I'll also probably run leaves out of my stockpile through my little shredder next week, for some fines up close around the plants. I'll dress up further away, with grass taken from the lawn.
I realize that not everyone has the resources for leaves and grass that I do, or funds to devote to gathering up here at home, but it's not all that expensive, if you know where to shop. I've attached a picture of the recent purchase of another Mow & Vac I got a couple weeks ago at a local consignment auction. A pretty nice Agri-Fab Mow & Vac for $145. I saw a fellow start it the night before the auction, so I know it runs. The hose & boot that goes on a mower deck is inside the trailer. I took it off, before bringing it home.