October 2, 2014

Meditation
So I’m a lazy gardener, and I don’t stir my compost too often. Usually at this time of year I have a good wheelbarrow full of finished compost, but a lot of loose stuff on top that’s only partially ready. What I usually do is bury the least finished material in a trench. It will finish composting over the winter and by spring my soil will be richer.

The down side, of course, is that every time I turn the soil I expose more weed seeds from years past, and I destroy some burrows and tunnels of my tiny garden friends. This is why I usually only dig in my garden twice a year.

This fall, my plan is to separate the finished and mostly-finished material and scatter that on top of the soil instead of turning it under. I’ll still bury compost in some areas that are mostly dirt, because those really need the organic material. On top of it all, I’ll spread my final batch of lawn clippings to conserve moisture. (I’ve used leaves as mulch in the past, but they always seem to blow away.)

Will less tilling make a difference? I’ll tell you next spring.

Yardscape
Pruning of my blackberries is complete for this year. Next year’s berries will come from this year’s growth, so I removed the spent canes. My blackberries are beside a chain link fence, so I weave the canes through the links and secure with twine or that handy Velcro tape stuff. The skinny tips usually don’t make it, but my outlook for next year’s blackberry crop is optimistic.

Frost has been light so far, and most of the trees are still green, but I know it’s only a matter of time. As soon as I finish the manuscript that’s being edited right now, it will be time to start collecting next year’s compost.

Pickin’s
The green beans are about all I’m getting now, and they’ve slowed way down since the days are shorter. I never did find a food bank that was open so I could share the harvest. However, my mother-in-law was very pleased to receive them.

Indoor Garden
I have a small potted Bay Laurel tree that’s been on my steps all summer, because I know it likes all the light it can get. With frost beginning, it’s now back inside.

Wildlife
My daughter and I were admiring the variety of bees in our yard. Or, more precisely, we were studying the different ways native bees secure their nest chambers. Some use sawdust. Some use mud. Some use pieces of rose leaf. Some are in prepared bee houses and some are in old blackberry canes. If I ever get a permanent position at an elementary school, I would love to lead a science club oriented around native insects and plants.

Until next time, keep on buzzing!

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