I'm Whipped-Too Much Good Weather

goodhors(z5 MI)March 30, 2006

This nice weather has had me outside for the last few days, working constantly. Got a fair amount done all over the place. The bulbs are all uncovered to prevent the oak leaves trapping the growing leaves coming thru leaf holes. Got most of those leaves shredded for mulch on the perennials. Trimmed almost all the bushes that need it this early. Bulbs and perennials are growing as you watch! Crocus and Siberian Iris is all that is blooming so far, Daffodils are almost ready.

Found lots of varmint nests, they didn't have a hard winter here. Found a mouse nest in the Clematis when I went to cut it. That nest was huge and HANGING 4ft high against the privacy fence in the air!! It was full of hickory shells so I know it wasn't a bird nest.

I think I may try the leaf blower for removing some of the leaf covering on my new beds. Hope it will speed things up over raking. Then I can shred them up as well. I am saving some of the shredded leaves to add to my beds I am redoing after the bulbs are finished.

Got the old dry plant stems cleaned out so the other beds are nice and neat. Saw a couple Garter snakes, very early for them. Then I sat on a bench on my porch to enjoy the birds and Spring Peepers. Heard some Cranes honking over by the swamp. Amazing how noisy the outside gets when the birds come back. It has been a really nice week around here.

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karen_w(5 MI)

It's been great here as well, but I didn't get out as much as I wanted to.
Sounds like you're ahead of me with clean-up.
Usually, cleaning is the first thing I do, but this year I paused to dig and transplant about 50 starts of daylily on a hill that faces my neighbors. It's a little gift for them.
Also sprinkled some columbine seeds. Hope they grow.
I LOVE spring! K.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 7:39PM
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I've been out, too.

Moved some dirt. Raked. Pruned wild raspberries into small bushes and tried 'mulching" them with yard waste. May add wet newspaper under the waste, just for an experiment. Began mulching. Weeded some, too. walked around an looked at everything. Husbad and his friends got into the act and built me a compost bin and two raised beds. I am very excited!

Supposed to snow tomorrow, but I've got Garden Web to read when I can't be outside.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 12:03AM
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with the wind and rain, I've only got the front yard cleaned up. I found a free gardening website class at barnes & noble University. you are suppose to buy their book, and I did, its in the mail. It is a fun way to chat with other gardeners and maybe learn something too. Heard about it at a different forum here. Need to plant my daylily seeds indoors, and pea seeds outside, but too cold for me!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 2:57PM
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To those of you who chop up your leaves after removing them from the garden (and I hope this isn't a dumb question) how do you mulch them? Do you spread them over the lawn and run the mower over them...or is there another way? I just removed 3 leaf bags full and would love to reuse them. Thanks for your suggestions.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 6:37AM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

I mulch my leaves, mostly oaks. I used to use the lawn mower, just ran over them several times. If you have a bagger for the mower that saves lots of time instead of raking them back together again! I kind of piled mine around the beds and mowed thru the piles first away, them mowed again shooting the cut leaves over the beds for fall. It worked pretty well, leaves settled quite well over winter.
Any leaf shredded down should be a bonus for you. Would also compost much faster for you if you have a compost pile. Mix shredded leaves with cut grass over summer for the brown and green needed in a good pile.
I have also made big leaf piles and mowed around their edges, shooting cut leaves back on the pile to pickup and use elsewhere. Again if I had the bagger, much less work.
I just sifted them onto areas I needed mulch. Just like I would do with wood chips. Make a depth around plant or shrub, no mulch on stems or woody parts. Did really well on my new Perennial bed, almost NO weed growth, looked very nice for over a year. Needs some more shredded leaves this spring to cover those which turned to dirt. About the same time use period I would expect from wood chip mulch.

Shredded leaves seem to stay put on beds pretty well over winter, even with a lot of wind. Edges needed a bit more shredded leaves come spring, bed centers looked very nice. Plants, bulbs come right up thru it in spring. Not smothering like a winter leaf pile can be. Little pieces are easy to push aside with stems I guess.

I was lucky enough to get a leaf shredder last fall at an Auction. It is very light, works like a string trimmer that fits over a garbage can. It is a little slow feeding, does not do sticks well. Electric so I can just turn it off, unplug it, and clean out the clogs. Uses regular string like my weed trimmer, can be set at fine, med, or coarse for leaf shredding size. Goes fastest with coarse but bigger pieces.
I would buy another, string goes fast on my heavy leaves but very easy to change. I buy string in large spools to rewind my string trimmer, much cheaper than the precut pieces manufacturer sells. It really eats the string when I get sticks in it. All shredders are dusty and noisy so handler needs safety glasses and ear plugs. I also wear a scarf over my nose for the dust. Worth it to me for the great leaf mulch I get FREE. Very easy to handle mulch, shoots right into the garbage can. Use it then or bag it up for later. Plants sure like it, makes my leaves a bonus, reduces them terrifically from huge piles to several bags for the gardens.

However you do it, I would recommend taking the time to shred your leaves, spread them about to gain the benefits of using them as mulch, mix into garden soil of beds, compost them for enriching your compost.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 1:06AM
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