lots and lots of leaves

One thing we have in awesome quantity this year are leaves. We lived in a heavily treed area so you would normally expect we have an abundance of leaves and we do but this year is incredible. Our driveway is about 10′ wide and roughly 300′ from the road to the house. It’s been totally covered with leaves for a couple of months now and I decided to use my new mulching shop vac to convert these leaves to garden ready compost. In just 10′ of driveway I picked up 3 large loads of leaves which converted into one 50 gallon black plastic bag. I’m guessing that I actually put 36 gallons in each bag since a full 50 gallons is too heavy to handle. I now have 4 full bags and probably twice that amount left to go before I have the driveway finished. Between that and the normal compost being generated from garden waste and shredded jungle clippings, I am now in a serious overload mode.

I’ve contemplated adding a couple hundred square feet to the garden in the past but decided against it because I didn’t think I’d be able to generate enough compost to support more area. Don’t think that’s a problem now. And also because it’s a real back breaking job to till up the field. What I see now is an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by using all this excess mulch to do the heavy lifting. I’m going to block off an expansion to the garden and just dump the mulched leaves and jungle clippings there over top of the field grass. I’m 100% confident that all the growth underlying will rot and die, just becoming part of the organic mix. I have in mind that it will be no problem starting out with an 18” deep topping and then add to that as the early layer decays. Then in about 6 months, till it all to create totally organic garden area. I’m also confident that this deep blanket of mulch over the summer will totally cook the underlying soil and kill off the nematodes with a combination of starving them and roasting them. The only question in my mind is do we really need a bigger garden?. We can’t consume all we generate now. The added space would maybe let me do a better job of stagger planting so the harvesting is spread out to better fit how we actually use the produce.

The garden itself is doing fantastic. Already see teeny tiny squash, itsy bitsy cucumbers and tomato blossoms. And so far, no creepy crawlies gnawing on the leaves. Even so, I’ve sprayed it all twice – once with an organic potion name Neem and once with a natural oil called Pyola oil. I don’t think either of these is potent enough to deal with a full onslaught of bugs but maybe ok to deal with the first wave of invaders. We’re going to have a nice overlap this year between the winter crops and the spring crops. Still picking peas, spinach, and cabbage for the next 2-3 weeks which is just about when the first squash and cucumbers should be ready. Even if we weren’t still harvesting, there’s enough stuff in the refrigerator to last at least another 2 weeks

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