HOW’S YOUR YARD CLEAN-UP PROGRESSING? This morning I had a panic attack, after hearing that a deluge and a deep-freeze were headed to the Hudson Valley. The problem? I had not yet put my Herb Garden to bed. Consequently I leaped into action:
As most of you know, I designed my little patch for herbs in the nook created by two wings of the house. The garden is a sight to behold in spring and summer (you can tour the garden here). But it is definitely a sight to avoid after the first autumn frost.
The clean-up procedure:
I’ve decided that tarragon is simply too weedy-looking for a raised bed. My plan is to winter-sow seeds of French tarragon in December or January, and then keep the plants confined to pots thereafter.
Why did I yank out the parsley? Because I’ve already preserved my winter-supply of the herb.
Did you know that turnips, carrots, and parsnips — if thinly sliced and then sweetly caramelized in a hot oven — make a terrific topping for a white (no tomato sauce) pizza? Neither did I, until I tried such a root-veggie pizza from Baba Louie’s in Hudson, NY. ‘Twas delicious. (Update: Here’s my recipe for Root Veggie Pizza.)
Would you like to see that again?
The money tree is a slow-grower. It can take years to produces any bills. And those bills are limited to ones, not fives. Fortunately a team of hybridizers are working to correct this flaw.
You can always wait until spring to newspaper-mulch a garden. But why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?
As a final step, I topped-off the raised beds with shredded leaves. Shredded leaves contribute myriad nutrients to the soil. Leaves make a garden water-wise, too. You see, leaves hold many times their weight in water. Of course they also improve soil texture, while providing food for worms and other beneficial organisms.
To help the leaves break down, I sometimes sprinkle a handful of organic cottonseed meal over each 6×4 bed. Cottonseed meal is almost all-nitrogen. It is nitrogen plus carbon (from the dried leaves) that produces heat. However, if the weather is already frigid, it makes little sense to add cottonseed meal at this time. You can always add it in early spring if your own leaves have not decayed sufficiently.
And that’s the herb garden, all tucked in for winter. In spring I won’t have to do a lick of work to prepare the beds for planting. I can simply insert my seeds or seedlings into the beds. And then I can sit back and enjoy a martini.
Are you rushing to complete your garden chores in advance of frigid weather? You have my sympathy. And my encouragement.
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