Little Edie for scale: bean bed with monster weeds
November! It’s time for stews, simmering stock and lots of roasts. It’s also my last chance to put the garden to bed.
We have about a month before we can expect snow in earnest, which is good: that garden is still a weedy mess, I confess. Despite my usual routine of grass mulch and close plantings, the perennial weeds like dandelion and thin-leaved plantain will take hold between plants, and it is only now that the plants are gone that I notice. So I am on a rigid routine of hand-weeding beds and paths, about 6 a day, before I cover them deeply in compost and grass clippings and leaf mulch. All 26 outdoor beds will be covered about 5-6″ thick with this stuff, and some beds, like the cardoon/artichoke beds, will be covered by a foot or more.
Deep cover on the beds serves two purposes. One, for the beds with winter crops on them (leeks, root veggies), the mulch prevents frost from settling in deeply…at least for a while. The second reason for deep mulch is for the benefit of the soil itself. The worms and other creatures will consume the mulch, tunneling through it, tilling it into the soil. My thick soil has vastly improved these five years by doing this one thing: mulching in fall, slightly tilling in the remaining mulch in the spring.
The best possible scenario is we get a few light frosts between now and mid-December and THEN blammo we get a foot and a half of snow, which most likely will remain (and get deeper) for the rest of the winter. The mulch will stay in place that way. Wait: did I just say I want it to snow?