October 28, 2009
Most yards have a corner of the yard that would be suitable for a compost pileYou don’t even need a compost bin (although I’ll be glad to sell you one!) You can set up a temporary fenced in area using any wire fence that will contain the leaves. Once the fencing is set up, dump a 6-inch layer of leaves into the fenced in area. At this point, you are going to sprinkle onto the pile a product called compost activator. This product will speed up the breakdown of the leaves into compost. Add another 6 inches of leaves and add some more compost maker. Keep making 6-inch layers until you have picked up all of the leaves. The compost activator should break down the leaves in about 60 to 90 days. With the arrival of cold weather, it will probably be early spring before the process is entirely finished. It could happen this fall / winter if the temperatures stay warm enough. Either way, come spring, you will have compost to add to your gardens. The wire fence can be taken down and stored until next fall. If you have opted to use the compost bin, you can leave it up and add lawn clippings and kitchen waste during the rest of the year.
Mice and other rodents love to eat the bark of fruit trees and any of the related ornamental fruit trees. They are more likely to do this in the winter when there is less food to eat. You should be wrapping the trunks of your fruit trees and ornamental flowering trees with a product called, fittingly enough, tree wrap. Tree wrap comes in several forms. There is a white plastic strip that wraps around the trunk. The most commonly found is a corrugated paper. The paper is wrapped around the trunk of the tree. Either one is effective at keeping the rodents from eating the bark of the trees. It is entirely possible for mice or rabbits to completely eat all of the bark off of the trunk of a tree in one winter. If all of the bark is eaten, or if the bark is eaten along the circumference of the tree, this will prevent nutrients from reaching the tree come spring. The result will be a dead tree. With the cost of most trees, tree wrap is a bargain at preventing damage to your trees.
At a recent lawn and garden trade shows, one of the chemical company representatives told me that Rotenone would no longer be manufactured. This has been a good natural pest control for chewing insects in the vegetable garden. If you have been using Rotenone in your gardens, it would be wise to pick some up this fall. Come spring, whatever stores have in stock will quickly disappear.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.