Easy Source of Organic Matter
Posted: October 10, 2011
Article by Mary Concklin
Good healthy soil should have at least an 3% organic matter (OM). Most of our soils have that amount. But new construction sites or those that have been tilled over and over again without additional OM added, are usually low. You can buy organic matter, get some from your local township (often free), or better yet, make your own.
Mow all those leaves that fall and add the shredded leaves to your garden beds. Pile them on! They will break down over the winter and by next spring your soil will be in better condition. You should also be able to find more worms.
Don't forget about your lawn - it also needs organic matter for a healthy growing environment. Mow the leaves that fall on the lawn. Then leave them. However, if you can't see green after you mow, the shredded leaf layer is too thick. The shredded leaves will break down over the winter. You should notice a healthier lawn. Another positive with shredded leaves: Cornell University has found that certain varieties of oak and maple leaves shredded and left on the lawn helps to control dandelions.
Tip of the Season:
The crown and roots of tender perennials need to be protected from the winter cold. We can't count on receiving enough snow to insulate the plants through the winter. Plan to cover your plants with 6 inches or more with straw, leaves or other insulating material after the first killing frost to protect them through the winter. Remove in early spring at the first sign of new growth.
Rosemary and several lavender varieties are tender perennials. To overwinter in the garden they will need extra protection from a cold winter. After the first killing frost, cover with a thick layer of a mulching material.