Winter Gardener

I decided that I missed my garden. Many put their gardens to bed until the spring. I, however, have been trying to find things to do. Like many things outdoors, my trips out the last couple days have been met with rain or a hazy, gray mist. It's the time for minimal work, letting the garden, nature do it's natural work. Decomposition. The cold rain drenches the dead leaves and grass into warm black gold. For the last half a year, the lawn cuttings and leaf blowings were pushed back into crevices edging the property. After a few months of decomposition,  the leaves are slick, dark brown and black, some with little earthworms growing on the side of the  occasional leaf. This smells and sounds of death to some. But to the gardener, some of the best earth magic is happening.

You see, in one of my shade gardens, I want to grow massive hostas and maybe ferns. This bed is currently low, below street level but residing at the top of a hill, meaning it tends to stay dry. Everything about this bed besides the shade are unfriendly to hostas. My compost is going to change that. I also have beautiful dirt a few layers down in these leaves. I found another mineral rich soil at the bottom of this hill where rainwater puddles before seeping into the earth.

So I've been getting a little dirty. Raising this tough old bed starts with layering the leaves and dirt like a cake. I hope to have 8-12 inches of layers. The county gives away extremely powerful  (I can kill your plants if you act like I'm just regular soil powerful) compost soil they make from their trash pick up of yard brush every week. If you didn't know, that's what happens to some of it.  So my goal is to ice my layered cake in this stuff. By the time spring comes around, with it being hit with the elements the potency will go down into the layers, resulting in the perfect condition for hostas loving moist, rich earth.The hostas are perennials already buried in the ground, but the gigantic ones I plan to add won't be going in until after the last frost.
To some it may seem like a lot of prep for a few plants. To gardeners, it's worth it. The other beds are getting a pine straw/leaf combo to protect the roots, giving it a little warmth on the tough days. I've been busy. :-)


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