For as long as I can remember, my gardener father has read a magazine called Organic Gardening . Actually, he unfailingly calls it Orgasmic Gardening, a pun I didn't figure out until I was much older (yes, I come by it naturally). As with any reading material lying about the house while I was growing up, I read it cover-to-cover. Many of my gardening tricks are the outcome of that early exposure to my father's approach to caring for his land. Since my son plays in our yard and we plan to eat the things grown in our garden, I'm pretty careful about the chemicals I permit out back.
With regard to the garden, my weed control program is to spread newspapers around the plants and then cover the newspaper with wood mulch. It helps the garden to look neat and works pretty well to control the weeds until the plants are big enough to take charge themselves. It's also a good way to water the garden more efficiently and improve drainage in the soil. In the fall when I pull out the dead plants, I turn the soil and it benefits from the organic remains of my weed control program. Last fall, I had also intended to further improve the soil with the leaves from my yard, letting them stew all winter and then turning them into the garden soil in the spring.
But last fall found me caring for a boy with a broken leg and so my garden nourishment plan was abandoned. Embarrassing confession: though I got the leaves segregated into one area of the back yard, I didn't get them picked up. Last weekend, as part of my spring yard beautification project, I finally pulled together the remains of the fall leaves ---- I had an abundant supply. The smell and appearance of this organic mess persuaded me that my garden could still benefit from the compost.
So, rather than dispose of the rich mix, I spread it in my young garden between the plants. It looks tidy, and I rather like that in a garden. And it should help the plants to flourish. JT, who provided stick-armed escort service for the transport of the leaves, was suitably impressed by my ingenuity.
In a few weeks, I will weed and turn the soil and see how the project worked. I may very well end up using the newspapers and mulch method of weed control on top of this. But for now I am very pleased with my clever method of fertilizing my garden.