Leaf Mold, Do Tell..

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How do you break up your leaves for your leaf mold pile. Just wondering since fall is coming and I want to get a good pile started.
I don't have a chipper or anything to break them up however, so I thought I'd ask you all what you do to prep new leaves.
Or, just toss 'em on a pile and let 'em soak down with each rain, mixing now and then.. ;)
So, do tell! :)
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I just toss them (mostly pecan leaves) in a welded wire fence enclosure, make a slurry of alfalfa meal (50 lb. sack from a feed store lasts a long time) in a 5 gallon bucket, and pour that in the middle. Cover with more leaves and hose it down. Keep adding leaves until the neighbours stop putting out the sacks. I may fork it a little now and then to add more slurry, but I don't bother turning it anymore and just let it set longer.
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wrote:

Thanks, I've been wondering about using alfalfa meal.
Care Charlie
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<Charlie> wrote in message

It gets the pile smokin'....... I usually cover it in black plastic to retain moisture and heat. The steam shoots out small holes on cool mornings. I generally take a couple of scoops from a plastic pitcher per bucket and let it soak for a few minutes. I used to use rabbit food pellets, until I realized how cheap a 50 lb. bag was.
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cat daddy wrote:

Hmmmm... But that's composting, not making leaf mold, no? Leaf mold is a cold process that uses fungi to break the leaves down, not bacteria.
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Whoo boy..... It was only last Spring that someone here said that I wasn't composting, but making leaf mould....... I don't think the fungi, bacteria, or worms particularly care about the words we humans use to describe decaying organic matter, or the plants care about what specific methods we use to create it. My potted tomatoes enjoyed growing in it, and my bedding plants have enjoyed having it layered on top, a la lasagna gardening. And, don't tell symplastless, but the pecan tree grove I tend at a local park has thrived and has a bountiful crop this year, whether I spread composted tree mulch, or fresh wood chips. Spread it on the ground, pile it up, add stuff or not....... Just don't bag it up and throw it away. It's all good.
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>> Spread it on the ground, pile it up, add stuff or not....... Just don't bag it up and throw it away. It's all good.
Sound advice! Would add the less energy we put in the better. May not be real fast but time is not the issue preserving organic matter is. I value anything that was once alive. Anything that passed thru a living organism better. That may make it easier for plants to recycle again to us.
Bill
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wrote:

I've become quite enamored of the lasagna and no-till concepts of gardening. I don't work anything into the ground anymore, the prospect of which would generally deter me from adding organic matter in a timely fashion. Keeping the soil strata intact and not scaring the worms, just like Nature does it, is the best.....
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wrote:

This statement should become a standard. I've added it to my garden quotes file, with proper attribution, of course. :-)

Ok, this has me thinking about what I have been doing, which is loosening the soil with a garden fork, or better if I had one, a broadfork. I'm certainly not arguing, just looking for the easiest and most beneficial way of improving and maintaining my soil.
My thinking, and others too, is that loosening the soil with a fork allows for aeration and sifting downwards af soil amendments...compost, ash, powdered stone, whatever. Is this too a waste of my energy and time and not that beneficial? I do raised beds and containers, so compaction from foot traffic is not an issue. One thing for sure, I haven't used a tiller for several years. Shooting rabbits in the garden doesn't trouble me, or pinching caterpillars of the bad kind, but the sight of chopped worms is just wrong.
Is what you are describing also described as "The Stout Method"? I thought the biointensive method as espoused by Jeavons sounded best and it was beginning to produce great results. One thing I didn't do, was the double (or even triple) digging that is recommended in some of the biointensive methods.
This whole business of food production is appearing to be more simple than I had imagined, and I am continually deconstructing my methods and knowledge. I guess the old KISS acronym applies.
Thanks for the re-direction.
Charlie
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Starting On a Journey 2:35 Yoshida Brothers The Yoshida Brothers World 100 1 8/9/06 6:02 PM
Bill who wonders what best practice is and is VERY GRATEFUL 2 inches of rain came last night.
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On Wed, 10 Oct 2007 18:55:04 -0400, William Wagner

I am not familiar with them, though I shall be before the night is over. ;-). Right now I am still singin' the blues....with Katie Webster......"Two Fisted Mama!" Red Negligee is playin' right now.
Some times I wonder if I had to choose between the eyes or the ears, which I would give up. Not being especially hindered in either, I can't say for sure, but I know I would miss greatly miss the music.

Best practice maybe is being being open and thoughtful and loving in our practices, whatever they be. Moisture conservation is of prime concern now, so it seems. She's warming up, Bill. Faster than we thought.
http://countercurrents.org/miles101007.htm
Care Charlie
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The opine that I'm working with is that loosening the soil in the manner you described would damage the hallways the worms have built (reducing aeration of the soil and damage the mycelium of fungi in the garden beds. Both are important for the ecology of the bed. If your beds aren't raised, you may want to consider stepping stones to spread out the pressure from foot steps and reduce compaction. I'm trying to grow clover between the stones.
My current plan is to lay down newsprint or card board on the garden as it shuts down and then spread mulch on top of that. Maybe I'll add some bone meal and phosphate as well.
How long is it till March?
--
FB - FFF

Billy

Get up, stand up, stand up for yor rights.
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Hmmmm........so maybe this forebrain thing ain't so great when it comes to gardening. Just need to bee the worm and the turnip?
Seriously, very very good point and I'm totally rethinking the whole thing.
My beds are raised and will obviously continue to raise, with the addition of mulch, compost and other organic matter, won't they?

Now, now, Billy........you be wishing your life away. You need winter for reflection and rejuvenation, as does your soil.
     Obacht-Bruder Charlie
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Charlie expounded:

We need winter to have Spring, my favorite season. Renewal.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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My favorite season is autumn. Harvesting, preparing for the lean times of winter, a winding down. I like winter pretty well also, with the seasonal celebrations and family times 'round the fire, so to speak.
I wonder if peoples' personalities dictate their seasonal preferences and or weather preferences. I prefer gloomy rainy/snowy days, always have.......kinda matches my dispostion, ya' think? ;-)
Charlie
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I like them all but I also like to see them transform or go. Early Dec snow is wonderful but about April it is time to see new life. Summer heat and swimming a joy but dry crisp fall becomes desirable. In a way what we have we like but soon tire of it and want change perhaps. This with the knowledge that San Francisco or Mykonos are alluring. My son was at a house on Mykonos last week. . Photos are beautiful with sea and sky but plant life is rare. I'd say desolate. But some folks say plant life and others say plant material. New growth in the spring and who does not think a little bit of Druid lies in one's heart. Now where is that mistletoe we found ? Dark sky can be forboding or a promise of rain.
Bill
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The message

Do you mean Mykonos Greece? Greece and its islands have probably the widest variety of native flora in Europe; but only visible for a short season. People travel there in spring to see the fantastic natural carpets of brilliantly coloured bulbs and annual wildflowers that erupt from stony ground after the winter wet; it looks just like some medieval painting of Paradise with cyclamen, poppies, cistus, daisies, crocus, scillas. Everything goes quickly to seed as summer arrives then all the foliage burns off and disappears again.
Just a tiny glimpse of it here
http://travel.webshots.com/photo/1339431115066376206RSpaSE#commentForm
Janet..
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I guess our images were after the short season. All I saw was white sand.
Bill
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Charlie expounded:

Oh, I dunno, I love a good rainy day, too. But autumn - it's nice, but it means death to me. Those beautiful leaves have reached the end of their stay here, now it's time for them to fall, decay and nourish next year's growth. I actually prefer all of the soft greens and reds of the flush of growth in the spring. But that's me, hope springs eternal <G>
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water.
"Pathetic," he said. "That's what it is. Pathetic."
He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again.
"As I thought," he said. "No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that's what it is."
sigh.....Eeyore here. ;-)
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