I have already shared that fall is my most favorite time of year. And, one of the reasons is that the frenetic pace of a hobby farm during the growing season has come to an end. In the fall, I can play more. The garden doesn’t just represent a never-ending list of things to do. Instead, it is a place where I can create and experiment and even do a little dreaming without feeling guilty about all of the things I should be doing.
After talking to a friend a couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to try some deep mulching/no till methods in our garden. The problem is that my husband really likes to drive his tractor. He likes to bush-hog, scrape, pull and till with that old John Deere 2010. It’s kind of an addiction.
So, we have been at odds. He wants to till, till, till. I want to mulch, mulch, mulch. After almost twenty years of marriage, I have learned to choose my battles. I can sit in the wings and wait for just the right opportunity.
After a season of very heavy rain and significant crop failure due to remarkable numbers of suffocating weeds, I saw a gleam of hope. I approached Farmer Dave again about trying a little experiment in part of one of our gardens. I did not phrase it as a request. He did not say “no”.
We had reached an agreement!
Some neighbors of ours have a lot of mature trees that are losing their leaves like crazy right now, so my daughters and I headed over there with rakes in hand to see if perhaps our friends would share their bounty. Both the husband and the wife heard our request for leaves and outright laughed out loud, telling us to take all we wanted. We loaded up the truck bed in about 20 minutes–without making a noticeable dent in their surplus.
“Be sure to tell ’em where you got ’em!” yelled the husband as we thanked them and drove away.
Strategically waiting until the wind had died down and the light rain had begun, I drove the truck down to the garden and unloaded our weed barrier/moisture retainer directly onto the designated part of one of our gardens.
I then read that leaves should be shredded before piled onto the soil, because massive amounts of intact leaves can actually keep rain from penetrating into the soil. Well, now I know.
I am a much better doer than researcher. (Obviously.)
Regardless of this new bit of information, I am optimistic. We have some old hay and some grass clippings that can be put on top of the layer of leaves, and perhaps I can move some of those leaves around with a rake to open things up a little bit.
I’m already daydreaming about how beautiful and prolific my part of one garden will be next year. I figure that’s all I’ll get. One season to prove the worthiness of my method.
Before the Tractor Man cometh.