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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #16
brownrexx
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Rather that picking up your neighbor's leaves you can do what I did one year. I put a sign at the end of my driveway that said "Bagged Leaves Wanted" and by the end of leaf season I had gotten 84 bags delivered to me!

It was a lot more than I expected but people have to pay for those paper bags and they also have to pay to have them picked up as yard waste so they were thrilled to drop them off at my house.

I ground them up with my mower and roto tilled them into my 2 gardens. I still had lots left over for mulch and compost.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #17
greenthumbomaha
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My former growing partner used to take his trailer around the neighborhood and pick up tons of leaf bags too. He didn't do the cardboard, just heaped them on. The soil was wonderful. He didn't even chop them up.

Nan, last year I spread a layer of shredded leaves over the garlic bed, and I held them down by laying tomato cages over the garlic beds. The leaves were gone bu spring, either by decomposition or swept away by the wind. The first inch of soil was very crumbly. I literally had to chisel each bulb out of the heavy clay soil by getting under each bulb with the shovel. It was a ton of work.
Another amendment I used was bagged worm castings. I had purchased the bags the prior season at Walmart at a very nice price. Each planting hole got a handful of castings at the bottom, but the surrounding soil was still rock hard.

It was a great year for large sized bulbs and I have an abundance of garlic but not enough space to plant all the seed size bulbs. I may press my 4X4 raised box full of aged used potting soil and black cow into service. The dwarfs loved this spot, but I wonder if the mix is too wet for bulbs. Maybe shredded leaves mixed in to the rescue?

- Lisa

Still weighing options.

What a fun idea, Brownrex. Can't do around here with all the lawn services dumping chemicals and trees being treated for emerald ash borer.. Makes me queasy when I see little kids playing on the grass when there isn't a weed to be had on the entire yard.

Last edited by greenthumbomaha; 3 Weeks Ago at 07:57 PM.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #18
bower
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It's too windy here for any kind of loose mulch, so I'm using chicken wire over the garlic beds to keep it from blowing away. Some animal got into my first bed before I had it mulched, and dug up a couple of cloves. Maybe squirrel? So I'm wiring over the mulch tightly to keep critters out as well. I'll remove all of it when spring comes and before the garlic comes up through, but you would probably keep your soil softer by maintaining the mulch around the garlic. Here the leaves get really matted down by the snow, so in spring it's as good as a sheet of stuff. If I left it on, I would have to poke holes for the garlic to get through.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #19
brownrexx
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greenthumbomaha I do not take any grass clippings or municipal compost for the reasons that you mentioned. I have seen the lawn services dumping their treated clippings at the compost facility.

When I collected the leaves a few years ago we didn't have problems with the Emerald Ash Borer but this year people are starting to treat their trees with a systemic insecticide for the Spotted Lanternfly so I wouldn't want their leaves anymore.
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