October 23Lasagna Gardening
Lasagna gardening gets its name from layering, layering, layering! It is a no-dig, no-till garden that results in rich soil with very little work.
You can start your garden at any time of the year. However fall is the best time because the layers will break down over the winter. In the spring you will have good rich soil in which to plant your flowers or vegetables.
Materials that can be used in lasagna gardens are: leaves, dried grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, aged manure, compost, peat, pine needles, spent blooms and trimmings from the garden, newspaper (no glossy sheets or magazines) and cardboard (remove packing tape). DO NOT use any protein materials such as meat or dairy products.
Starting your Lasagna Garden:
1. Put down newspaper – use about eight sheets and overlap them a couple of inches. Wet the newspaper thoroughly.
2. Put down a layer of brown materials: fall leaves, peat, pine needles or shredded newspaper.
3. Put down a layer of green materials: fruit and vegetable scraps, garden trimmings or dried grass clippings.
4. Repeat layers #2 and #3 until your lasagna garden is about 2’ deep. The height will shrink as the layers decompose.
5. As a general rule your brown layers should be twice as deep as your green layers.
6. The final layer should be either aged manure or compost.
7. The top may be lightly sprinkled with bone meal and wood ash for added phosphorus and potassium.
8. When you are done layering wet the garden so that it is moist through all of the layers.
Chop your brown and green materials as small as possible so that they will break down quicker.
Benefits of lasagna gardening include fewer weeds, better water retention, less need for fertilizer and soil that is very easy to work.
By Sherry LeMaster
October 23Garden Seed Pods Feed the Birds
Don’t cut those dried stems! Mature seed pods provide a natural food source for the birds throughout the winter.
Leave the seed heads from your sunflowers, cone flowers, black eyed Susans,salvias, phlox, thistles and ironweed.
Small seed eating birds like chickadees and gold finches will feed straight from the pods. Ground feeding birds like cardinals and sparrows will find seed that has fallen to the ground.
Leaving your seed heads also adds appeal to a garden in winter. Leaving the mature seed pods saves time and work while helping your feathered friends
If leaving the stems is not appealing to you, then cut the stems and make a bouquet and hang it from a fence or tree . The birds will find the food.
October 23Flowers Feed Late Migrating Hummingbirds
A fellow gardener in Newark reported that she has had late migrating hummingbirds in her garden everyday this third week of October. The birds have been hungrily feeding at the hummingbird feeder she rehung as well as agastache, salvia ,and other flowers remaining in her garden. Watch for hummingbirds and put your feeder back out if you spot them.