Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Who Says You Can't Garden In Winter?

Ah, winter gardening.... the ultimate recycling in action. There are many ways to turn lawns into food, but if one has a lot of time they can choose to simply "mulch" their grass. Composting requires greens (nitrogen) and browns (carbon). Grass is a green, and cardboard, dry leaves, and newspaper are all browns. The hope is that together they will break down and form wonderfully rich soil.

So, I set about collecting boxes from the grocery store, newspapers from my parents, and dry leaves from my neighbors. The result was several hours of work outside and a (temporarily) very ugly backyard. But I got to think a lot about the process of growing food, and turning waste into nourishment.

It's fun to see that so many things can become compost. The lawn staples that held down the weed blocking fabric came in a little cardboard box, which promptly went right on the lawn as soon as the staples were gone. I had stored the newspapers in paper grocery sacks, which also went on the lawn. The sacks were from Whole Foods and advertised that they were made of recycled materials. Indeed! Now I'm going to recycle those bags into food!

Gardens do this all by themselves. Growing food is all about the cycle of birth, death, and re-birth. Over-ripe food rots back into the soil, leaves fall, and old plants get eaten away by worms. All of it goes to nourish the new seedlings in the spring.

I've found you can get very philosophical when left alone with a project like this for several hours. So now, here are the photos of the job....

***Note to any readers that may be considering donating their yards to Heirloom Gardens --- don't worry. We'll use a sod cutter and compost the sod for the garden. :)

The first step is to put down a layer of cardboard over the grass (and snow).

Next I added the leaves. Clover was a big help.

Lucy helped, too.

I finished with a layer of newspapers, then covered everything with the weed block fabric (which lets moisture in) and stapled it down.

Here's what it looks like when it's done.

The yard in progress.

Lucy likes the black fabric because it heats up so nicely in the sun.

It's good to rest after a long day of work!

1 comment:

Jen said...

This is fantastic!

When do you take everything off? I cannot wait to see the results.