Ode to leaf mulch!

Over Easter weekend, we finally saw the last of the snow melt from the yard. My edible garden beds had been snow-free for awhile, and I decided it was time to turn the soil over and get some seeds going.

If you recall, we broke sod for a total of three new areas last summer/fall. All three, plus the existing raised bed, got a deep covering of mulched leaves. One of the beds had a cover crop of barley that died over the winter as well, providing even more mulch. I only worked the soil in the beds that I was going to be planting in soon – the beds that will contain later crops will sit and continue the decomposition process. I may even leave some sections and plant right through the mulch to try the no-dig method.

Can I just say that I was completely amazed by how much improvement I saw, even only after one year of leaf mulching? So many earthworms. And the heavy clay soil had a bit more of a fine “crumb” to it in the new beds. It still has a LONG way to go, but I’m committed to creating a nice layer of top soil, and I’m willing to be patient.

The best part was the raised bed. I did a layer of newspaper and wood chips last summer, and then added the leaves on top of it in the fall. The soil was so deep and loamy and seriously crawling with big, fat worms. I found far less dandelion roots as well. It was like I wasn’t even working the same soil I started with last summer. I’m hoping to grow some beautiful carrots and beets!

I also spied a few green tops of the garlic I planted last fall. Garlic! I grew my own garlic! Seriously, I’m so excited about it.

If you want an easy, inexpensive way to improve your soil, start with mowing over your leaves and adding them to the garden. You will be SHOCKED at how big an impact it makes!

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