Godless in the garden


Godless in the garden

Discussing all aspect of gardening.

Location: Planet Earth
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Comment by Joan Denoo on November 16, 2018 at 1:42am

Daniel, my understanding is that if you get a very thick layer of leaves on the grass, it will die with grass & leaves decomposing into fine soil.

The authorities for my claim are: 

"If you only cover the grass in the winter Nov-April, then remove the leaves the grass will still be alive because they don't use much energy in the winter, and they store a lot of energy. You will have to keep the grass covered for spring+summer if you plan on suppressing them. You could try daikon radish as a living mulch. They have roots that go down 6ft, so they dont have to fight with the grass root, but the daikon radish leaves will shade out the grass."

~ leaves to kill grass over Winter for Spring garden bed.


Another blog may give some information:

" Leaves are at their nutrient best shortly after they’ve fallen from the tree. Soon after that, their nutrient value begins to disappear. Leaves left on lawns or in piles over winter lose much of their mineral value to leaching. Leaves composted without shredding and not mixed with a green source of nitrogen may sit for years before decomposing. Without a source of nitrogen, leaves will not become compost but instead become leaf mold, a valuable soil addition concerning drainage and water-holding capability, but not as valuable as mineral-rich compost."

~ Leaves, easily turned into protective mulch, soil-enhancing leaf ...

From my experience, piling a very thick pile of leaves on grass will eventually kill it, turning it into friable humus, rich with earthworms.  

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 15, 2018 at 4:13pm

Randy, do I remember correctly that you are a retired teacher? 

When you wrote, "I don't like "experts" telling me what to do; I will feel inferior;" your words startled me.

I wanted to take the Master Gardener instructions, howeer, my memory is so bad, I decided to spare the instructor that challenge. Now that I am in Newport, there is an exceptional Extention agent here and I have no transportation. The dept very kindly takes my email questions and answers them as best they can. 

We also have a Kalispel Tribe member who helps me out. I would still like to learn at the elbow of a master gardener for the greenhouse. 

Comment by Loam Gnome on November 15, 2018 at 2:35pm

Around here, there is only one or two major snow situations a year, plus usually an ice storm.  I think major equipment to remove all of that would cost a lot, and it's only for a short term situation.  I can see closings being more cost effective.

As for me, snow means sitting by the wood stove while it warms me and my canine companion, and generates plant food in the form of ashes. I'm getting lazier.

Comment by Patricia on November 15, 2018 at 1:20pm

Inch of snow....wimps! School buses don't run here when it gets to -35*C. but school is still open for anyone who can get there.

Comment by Loam Gnome on November 15, 2018 at 11:26am

Randy, over the years, several people recommended that I look into "Master Gardeners".  I obviously have a strong horticultural bent. But as with all things,  motivations can be complicated.  As I looked into it more, I realized it would be a much more social thing than I can do.  I'm just too introverted and quiet.  Even though I love horticulture.

An inch of snow!  I remember growing up in rural Illinois, snow up to my knees.  On weekends, we ice skated on the MIssissippi river, which froze over across the entire river.  We skated from Illinois to Missouri and back again.

I didn't get that truck load of leaves hauled yet.  Today is my volunteer day, so they will wait for tomorrow.  I decided to see if I can pile a think layer of leaves to kill grass between two apple trees, where there is room for a third tree.  I don't know if that will work.  If not, that's OK.

Comment by Randall Smith on November 15, 2018 at 7:14am

Sort of like "buyers remorse", eh, Daniel? Email them back and cancel. Does it cost anything?

Got an inch of snow overnight, and schools were cancelled! Not like the good ol' days. Cancellations are justified by calling the day "E learning day", via computers. Don't know if the state accepts this without makeup days.

Comment by Loam Gnome on November 14, 2018 at 9:36am

Randy, I emailed the master gardener program.  Hen I started to have doubts.  Too many people.  Too many classes.  Thoughts like yours.  Now Im asking, what was I thinking, already?  Im too introverted for that.

yesterday we hauled 2 pickup truck loads of leaves for mulch and compost.  There may be 2 more loads to go.

Comment by Randall Smith on November 14, 2018 at 7:56am

Daniel, I've also considered joining a master gardening group. My reasons for not are minor: I don't like "experts" telling me what to do; I will feel inferior; It'll be (mostly) a waste of time--so much useless (for me) information.  But that's not to say you can't learn something. Go for it! You can always drop out.

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 14, 2018 at 1:34am

Thank you, Daniel, for the information. I like the seeds I ordered from Territorial Seeds & Johhny's Selected Seeds. I can't remember which plants I grew from these seed companies. 

I will try the parthenocarpy seeds. 

The greenhouse was 45°F while I worked out there today. I am still trying to fit my garden tools into the greenhouse and shed. Something has to go. 

Comment by Loam Gnome on November 13, 2018 at 10:31am

Joan, here's an article about parthenocarpy.  For the tropical grower, all of our seedless bananas and navel oranges are parthenocarpic.  The seedless grocery story grapes are also parthenocarpic.  For the home grower, seedless grapes are another example.  I think the seeded grapes have better flavor but some newer seedless ones come close.  I think the grocery store grapes are also treated with giberellic acid to produce much bigger seedless grapes than I get in my garden  Sweet but less flavor. 

Territorial Seeds claims to be the only seed company offering a full line of parthenocarpic tomato seeds.  this might be useful for you.  Here is what they say:  "Parthenocarpic tomato plants are able to set fruit at cooler temperatures, giving you ripe tomatoes often 10 days to 2 weeks earlier than other types, depending on your weather. The first tomatoes on these vines will also be seedless. Later fruit from flowers that are pollinated will contain some seeds."  There are also parthenocarpic cucumbers now.  Those do not require bees to set fruits.  Apparently, the parthenocarpic cucumbers become bitter and misshapen if they are pollinated by bees, so are grown in greenhouses.  Various seed companies sell seeds for parthenocarpic cucumbers - Johhny's Selected Seeds is one.  Jungs sells some parthenocarpic pepper seeds.  I did not do a comprehensive search - those are almost random links.

Randy, when you finish raking your leaves, I know where you can get more :-)  Unfortunately, about 2000 miles away from you!  My plan is to fill up the pickup truck with neighbor leaves today or tomorrow and haul for compost and mulch.  I still want to mulch the blackberry bed and a few more fruit tree surrounds.  The rest are for compost.

As an aside, I decided to look into the local Master Gardener program, with intent to join it.  I'm not very sociable, but it seems like a fit for me.  That would mean starting some classes next fall.  I will think about it some more and see what the future bears.  Life is unpredictable  but planning ahead is still a good thing.


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