Making the most of those fallen leaves
Allen Worrell, News Writer
Master Gardeners of the Blue Ridge
By Andrew Bowman
About the Virginia Master Gardeners and Virginia Cooperative Extension: Virginia Master Gardeners are volunteer educators who work within their communities to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices through sustainable landscape management education and training. As an educational program of Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Master Gardeners bring the resources of Virginias land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth.
This is the time of the year that a lot of gardeners just love to get outside and play, especially under those beautiful trees that are of an abundant quantity in a lot of yards and around the edges. If you have flower beds or gardens, this is just the time of year that you should enjoy.
Although they are a nuisance according to some people, those leaves are pure gold to a lot of other folks. If you have a compost pile, then you need to rake as many of those leaves as you can to fill it up. Even if you do not compost you can still use all of them. Oh, you do not have a shredder to do the work for you. Rake them, put them in a garbage can and use your trimmer to chop them. If you do not want to do that, rake them, bag them, tie them, store them somewhere and use on the garden just before you plow or till to help with improving the soil. Leaves can be used as mulch, whether shredded or not, but shredded leaves work best and will decompose a lot quicker than whole ones.
Not only leaves, but all the other things that you still have left in the garden and flower bed can also be out into your compost pile or shredded and put right back into the garden and tilled in. Dont go to all the trouble to clean it all up, bag it and haul it to the dump and pay to dump it. Use it to improve the soil in your gardens and flower beds.
Now that it is getting close to frost time, you look around your garden or flower beds and see that you still have a lot of green tomatoes hanging on the vines. What do you do with them? Well, there are a few things you can do to take care of them.
-You can just forget them and lose all the rest.
-You could go out before it frosts and pick them off, wrap them in newspapers and let them ripen that way.
-You can also go out, pull the entire vine with the tomatoes, find a good place to hang them upside down where they wont freeze and let them continue to ripen on the vine. These tomatoes will last until about the middle of December still on the vine, just not out in the garden. Once all the tomatoes are gone put the vines in your compost pile.
Got your potatoes dug, with no good place to store them, do like the old folks used to do and bury them in the garden until they are needed. Then dig them a few at atime as you use them. There are a variety of ways you can do this.These old methods will work for a lot of things, such as apples, carrots, turnips, potatoes, etc.
Well, guess that is all for this time. Until next time, just let it grow.
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