Soil Preparation

On Saturday, I spent a good part of the afternoon raking and moving fallen leaves. Around the house are many mature oak and maple trees that drop leaves all winter, and some of the oak drop leaves clear up until the new spring buds begin to emerge. These dried leaves are great mulch for protecting tender plants from winter chills and for adding warmth to the dog’s beds. I added dried leaf mulch about a foot deep to many areas in the garden and plan to pile them up under the rosemary bush and fig trees. Late February or early March we’ll pile more dried leaves around the garden along with fallen branches and twig. We’ll burn it all and then spread the ashes around the garden to be turned under the soil amending it as equal to adding the same part lime. Of course the leaves and other stuff not completely burned will be turned under, too, along with compost we’ve cooked all winter long, which will add to the soil’s tilth. We save a coffee can full of ashes to be made into wood ash tea for the apple trees which are fed in mid March. Late last summer, in August, we added our organic fertilizer mix and turned it under the soil just before broadcasting a mix of winter greens. As soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, usually early March, all of the burning and spreading will be finished and a final turning of the soil will take place as we prepare for summer’s planting.