I still haven’t picked any leeks or parsnip, preferring to see a few more hard frosts. The parsnip still looks like it’s doing some photosynthesis.
Friday and Saturday was unseasonably warm. Saturday looked like the last chance to get the outdoor work finished. I raked the remaining leaves in the yard and shredded them. The early leaves were mowed with the mulching mower. Then the oaks let go. This year many of the leaves blew off the cut grass. There were still a lot of leaves that collected in corners and such. The pin oak in front never drops its leaves until midwinter, usually after a good snowfall, so it’s mess will have to wait until next spring. I don’t know why this tree has to be different, but it is.
Last year the weather turned nasty before I could shred the leaves and they stayed on the ground all winter. They were shredded in the spring and put into the compost bin but there wasn’t enough time to get fully finished compost for the beds.
I filled the cart nearly full with shredded leaves then pulled it over to the compost bin. I added the leaves in layers about 3” thick. Each layer got a handful of blood meal then was watered (lasagna compost?), then the next layer of leaves was added. The ideal carbon/nitrogen ratio for compost is 30:1. Leaves are about 50:1, a little short of nitrogen but not as deficient as sawdust or straw. That’s why I added the blood meal, to get the nitrogen level where it should be. I just guessed at the amount of blood meal to add. I’m hoping for finished compost next spring, ready to go into the beds.
Now I’ve got a bin full of shredded leaves ready to turn into compost. I’m hoping they will start decomposing right away. Even with cold weather on the way the leaves should do a good job of holding any heat generated by the decomposition. A bottom layer of decent compost was already built up over the summer. There’s about a dozen fish heads and entrails in there too. It should be a rich mix next spring when it’s ready to go into the garden.
Next post: Bed plans for 2011 and 2012