A weekly blog for all things conservation
By Kevin Brown, Ag Team Leader
For those of you out there who like to be controlled all summer long by your garden, feel free to only read the next sentence. If your routine for gardening every year is to rototill it two or three times, then pick rock, and then pick weeds all summer long; not to mention watering every couple days, this article is not for you. This article is for us lazy people who really like to have a garden, but like to do things other than continually tending to it. I met a person yesterday at our Green Career Day at Sunfish Pond who heard my talk and wanted to know more. She wanted a garden, but not all the hard work that came with it. I said, “Problem solved”. But, if you want to really do a great job with it, the time to start is NOW.
I have written about this before, but I thought it was worth a refresher course as right now is the perfect time of year to get started. Let’s start out with the process of what we are going to do. In the next week or so I will cut down all my plants from this year, and anything that is not diseased in any way will get thrown right on top of the hay mulch that is already there. I am not going to carry them off anywhere and dispose of them “properly”. When they decompose, they form mulch, just like any other form of organic matter you can put out there. Then, I will get and old hay bale from someone that has one setting in a hedgerow somewhere that is half rotted already and roll that out on top of it. Make the layer good and thick- 12”. I may be exaggerating on the condition of the hay a little bit, but I am trying to make the point that it does not need to be anything special. My bales usually do have some kind of rotten hay in them already. You don’t need to buy anything special. Just find a junk bale of hay that no one else can use for animals and use that. I am done now until next year.
Next spring, actually early summer, I will go out and dig through the mulch, plant my plants, and pull the mulch back in around the plants as close as I dare, and I am done. All that is left is harvest. How is that for easy? Mulch, plant, harvest. That is a year in the life of my gardening. This can also work with seeds or flower beds. If you want to try the seeds, call me and I can walk you through it. There are a couple different ways to do it, but it is still very easy.
A word of caution (for all gardeners)- we have a tendency to plant too early. I am sure it goes back to the psychological need to be the first one to have the garden in, AND you just can’t wait to do it. You are just itching to get out there. I hear about it from my own family. I waited until June 12th, or something like that, last year and it worked great. (Except for the constant nagging I heard about, “when are you planting the garden” every couple days). I will explain things a little better in the next article. In the meantime, get out there and mulch. Then, take the whole winter, and even spring, off. We won’t do anything else until early summer. Ah, sounds like the easy life to me.
The Bradford County Conservation District is committed to helping people manage resources wisely. You can visit the Bradford County Conservation District at 200 Lake Rd in Wysox across from the Wysox Fire Hall. Contact us at (570) 485-3144 or visit our web page at www.bccdpa.com
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District