Sunday, January 06, 2008

Mid-Winter Mulching

Who says gardening has to stop during the winter? Prairiewolf and I took advantage of a relatively warm weekend (highs in the upper 50's to low 60's) to push away the winter blues by working outside.

First we took our Christmas tree in to the recycling point yesterday and picked up some of the free mulch available there. What an excellent program that is! They evidently take a portable chipper around to each of the drop-off points and chip the discarded trees into mulch right in place. The trees don't have to be transported anywhere, saving time and money, and the mulch is perfect to put in shrub beds or under trees. My only problem is a desire to be piggy and take several truckloads of mulch home. Heaven only knows we could sure use it around here!

Today we finally got back to shredding the leaves we picked up earlier this fall. Our month's worth of snow and ice put us way behind the power curve on that project, but today we got another 10 bags or so shredded, and we moved the rest of the bags to the compost area so that they're not "decorating" the front of the garage anymore. In doing this, we discovered another challenge that the last month's weather has created: some of the bags have collected moisture inside them, and the leaves in those bags are almost impossible to shred using our current chipper/shredder. It clogs up. I'm not sure what our solution to this dilemma is going to be yet.

The last part of today's outside work was spreading out some of the (unshredded) leaves whose bags had disintegrated. When I tried to use leaves as mulch last winter, they quickly blew away in the wind, so this time I covered them with a light layer of shredded cedar to try to anchor them in place. Hopefully my little experiment will be successful, because this will make using all our "shredded brown gold" much easier.

I feel good about the weekend's accomplishments: the forsythia by the garage are tucked in with a thick blanket of fresh green mulch, the area nearby smells marvelously of recycled Christmas trees, the front of the garage is once more free of big black plastic bags, our pile of shredded leaves has almost doubled in size, and one big area of bare ground is resting under a trial layer of leaves and cedar mulch.

I think it's time to settle in with a seed catalog or two or three....

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