Friday, January 18, 2008

Snow at last!

We got the first real snow of the year yesterday. We got about 6 inches and were spared the predicted freezing rain. My yard looked so pretty in the morning light that I put boots and a coat on over my pajamas and went out to take some pictures.

Snow on the rosemary

American holly (Ilex opaca)


My hazelnuts are covered with catkins. I doubt that I will ever taste a nut from these shrubs but the squirrels will be pleased.


I have planted as many berry-producing shrubs as I can squeeze into the yard. It's interesting to see which ones get eaten and when. Some, like the serviceberries get snapped up as soon as they ripen. Others persist well into the winter and seem to get eaten when birds return in the early spring. Here's what is out there now:

Winterberries (Ilex verticillata)

Rose hips (Rosa virginiana)

American cranberry bush (Viburnum trilobum)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Interbay Mulch

Last year I tried a slightly different way of composting the yard waste. Interbay mulching is similar to sheet composting or lasagna gardening. You pile the debris into a long hump a couple of feet high and as logn as you like, then cover it with burlap. This originated in the Pacific NW where empty burlap coffee sacks could be had for the asking. I had a hard time finding burlap but finally tracked down rolls of it at the local farm co-op. The clerk there told me they stock it for the drama students at James Madison University. I criss-crossed cord over it and secured it with tent pegs to keep critters from digging it all up.

A couple of weeks ago I peeled off the burlap which was now pretty well sprouted with weeds. I raked up some lovely, finished black compost and shovelled it into the black compost bins for storage. I'll definitely use this method again but will not do it at the edge of my asparagus bed. It gets way too weedy for that spot.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

No Mount Mulch

For the first time in several years there is no mulch pile in my driveway! On New Year's Day I got outside for an hour or so and shovelled and spread the last of it on the fruit trees.