Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Putting the Gardens to Bed for the Winter

We've never done it this late before, but the weather was perfect.  (A few years, we've totally skipped this step and I've regretted it in the spring.)  We put our garden beds to "sleep" for the winter on November 30 in the span of about two hours, with the little man in the pack on Daddy's back.  So we got some family time outside to boot.

How'd we do it?  We tried the lasagna gardening method, which was super easy to prep.  We started by laying out our layers of newspaper in the gardens after cutting back the old plants (and weeds!).  We collected these newspapers from friends and from our days of purchasing the Sunday paper and now we're using them in the garden, which means that we're totally saving green in both senses of the word.

The next layer was about a two inch layer of our compost.  Our composter was bursting at the seems from our kitchen scraps, yard waste, and what came out of our gutters after cleaning them.  It felt great to be able to almost empty the composter and put that black gold to good use!  We still had a few whole egg shells and citrus peels in there, but hopefully after composting some more over the winter, it'll be good to go in the spring.

Then, we added a layer of straw.  We'd purchased this straw bale about a year ago, and hadn't gotten around to using it as mulch between our raised  beds as intended, so we used it here to heavily mulch these beds.  We probably added a 3-4 inch layer of straw to each bed.  If we have time, I'd like to add a layer of leaves to the top when we clean out the ditch and culvert below the driveway.

I'm hoping that by doing all of this in the fall that our beds will be ready to go in the spring.  I'd love to plant one with raspberries, one with rhubarb, and one with asparagus.  We did go ahead and plant the bed that had basil in it over the summer with garlic for the winter, so we'll see how that turns out in the spring.  I'm hoping it had enough nutrients in it to support the garlic.  I've never planted it before.

And, can I just say how good it feels to have that bale of straw out from in front of the house and some of those newspapers gone from the basement?!  And they're being put to good use... even better!

So, what about you?  How're you living and saving green in your gardens this winter?  I'd love to hear from you!

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