Shorts in November
While there’s snow freezing out trick-or-treaters in some parts of the country, here in TN it’s unseasonably warm. I’ve got to say, I’m really enjoying it despite the climate change implications. It was perfect weather for porch sittin’ while passing out candy last night. And today, it was ideal for rolling up my sleeves and doing some fall gardening.
My most recent plan for myself and my family (in light of my lay off and loving being home full-time) is to make my time at home as profitable as possible. So, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about gardening and generally moving in the direction of homesteading and self-sustainability.
Now, we live in a city with a small plot of land, so this may seem like a pipe dream. However, I was thrilled to read in several places that with ~500 square feet, I can grow enough food for a family of four for a year. And with a couple chickens, a goat, and some bees, I can get really close to growing all our food on just my 1/4 of an acre. The goat and chickens are not going to be added to my life any time soon, but veggies and bees I (and my husband 🙂 ) can get behind.
In light of this new plan, our yard is now being designed with a long-term sustainability plan in mind.
Getting my leaves to leave
This week’s goal was to make good use of all the leaves in the yard. I love LOVE the falling leaves and the colorful trees, but I don’t want to kill all the grass we have OR let a resource go to waist, so I’ve been raking my little heart out the past few weeks. Now that I’ve got a fly collection of leaves I’ve got to put them to good use.
My first use for these leaves…mulch. This is what I’ve done so far:
- Raked the leaves
- Ran over them with my self-powered push mover to break them down
- Spread them thickly around my newly planted shrubs and trees and around my decorative beds of perennials in the front yard.
- Spread mulched leaves around my newly planted berry bushes (thought about adding some cedar shavings I have to this mulch, but I learned these can be toxic to blueberries, so that idea was amended.)
- Spread the mulch between the rows of my established fall plants in my veggie garden to keep them healthier and suppress weeds through the growing season (cedar will also NOT be added here because it can reduce soil oxygen levels too much).
- Fertilize my newly planted fall bulbs that will bloom in the spring then cover them lightly with my well shredded leaf mulch.
- Build the frames for my next raised bed and compost pile and fill them with the remaining mulched leaves to prep soil and compost for next year.
If you have any homesteading advice to share, please do. I’m learning every day and appreciate everyone’s input!