1. Fall Preparations

We are scrambling madly to collect enough leaves to get pictures for this section. The idea of creating a website was born in the early summer so most of the pictures start from that part of the season. The leaves have fallen and we collected enough to give you a rough idea of how to start a mulch garden. 

We will be starting with the FREE leave collection tips and tricks. Once you have enough bags of the best leaves you can take your time with the rest.

a) how to turn a lawn into a food factory

b) how to change your existing garden into a mulch garden

c) planning your garden according to sunlight & drainage

d) irrigation

e) how to collect for FREE all the mulch you will need

f) how to process mulch for flowerbeds

g) spreading tips


a) how to turn a lawn into a food factory

Click on any of the images to ENLARGE

fall00.jpg (56295 bytes) To convert a lawn into a garden you can rotor till the lawn with about 4 to 6 inches of  horse manure. I went deep (16") to level the low areas of the lawn. Gravel paths on root barrier fabric are easy to maintain and inexpensive. may01.jpg (51479 bytes) Once the mulch was spread, I made removable wood walkways to avoid crushing the mulch (plus my feet stay clean).
june-01.jpg (58542 bytes) Most veggie plants were pre-started in containers, or purchased from garden suppliers. Carrots, radishes, and beets can be planted using some simple tricks. I will tell you later. june+01.jpg (63394 bytes)  This pic was taken 3 weeks later.
july01.jpg (55922 bytes) By mid summer the garden had filled out aug01.jpg (60915 bytes) Abundance!

By August we were forcing food upon everyone we knew. 

sept01.jpg (73810 bytes) Mid October and we are still left with a garden that just will not freeze. roof24.10.01.jpg (60599 bytes) OK, by the last week of October we have a bit of frost.


b) how to change your existing garden into a mulch garden.

Not much to it, really! You merely create a layer of organic material over your soil.

horizon.jpg (44604 bytes) A. mid summer mulch

B. last fall's mulch almost all loam

C. previous lawn with manure rotor tilled

remulchbefore.jpg (62189 bytes) By mid summer all the mulch had broken down under wide plants (broccoli, cabbage, etc)
remulchpath.jpg (48191 bytes) mid summers re-mulching of carrots. (notice the marigolds for insect control) remulchpeptom.jpg (69234 bytes) we added about 8 inches of leaves around the peppers & tomatoes for the mid summer re-mulching
haymulch.jpg (48809 bytes) one client decided to try mulch in mid summer after weeding for 56 hours a week. Straw works. Leaves are better & FREE! 11.11.01.jpg (55069 bytes) I moved the boardwalks whilst spreading leaves.


d) irrigation

danplumbing.jpg (31081 bytes) Its easier than it looks! lineelbow.jpg (55669 bytes) Inexpensive and simple 1/2 inch flexible black plastic line is my favorite. It can freeze without damage. Did I mention inexpensive? About 10 cents a foot!
linespagetti.jpg (55585 bytes) The 1/2 inch line is easy to add 1/4 inch "spaghetti" lines to containers etc. linelong.jpg (60990 bytes) We place these lines high enough to allow short plants to grow under and low enough to avoid water on foliage of taller plants (to avoid blight)
solinoids.jpg (29907 bytes) All our plumbing connects directly to our water "tree" as well as to the timed solenoids (which we take indoors to avoid freezing).    


g) spreading tips: 

- try to mix your leaves on the ground to even the consistency of nutrients/leaf size. Children and dogs are good assistants.

- when spreading pick out all the litter, whatever you miss you WILL see sometime.

- use the least amount of walnut leaves. I use them sparingly and well mixed. I pick out the nuts,  roast, and eat them rather than having to weed baby walnut trees. To read more details about walnut leaves and "juglone", the semi-toxic substance in them go to this page on my site.

- Don't worry about water not getting under the leaf layer. It WILL work its way down. You can always poke some holes through areas if you want though.

leafbefore.jpg (94844 bytes) Before you start spreading  your leaves think about what you want to cover up. I break up my marigolds because I do not want the seeds to germinate. I also bury my carrot tops because I am too lazy to put them in my compost.
leafafter.jpg (96888 bytes) I use about one bag of leaves for each 2 square feet on a new lawn/garden and about one bag per 3 square feet on a mulch garden that has had leaves added in the summer.