There was a time when I would wait for all of my crops to be spent, till the garden and call it a season. Now it’s more of a piecemeal proposition.
With my garden’s size, I never have enough compost to fertilize the whole caboodle. Even starting with three bins full of waste materials, it cooks down by half or more.
I had enough compost to generously cover 4 1/2 beds, which are now a uniform 21′ x 3′. I tilled in the compost and then planted a winter cover crop mix in those beds. The rest of the beds will each get 7 to 8 gallons of fresh chicken manure before winter (I clean off the pop board every morning and store it in a covered 5 gallon bucket). Then they’ll be covered with shredded leaves.
In the piecemeal spirit, I’ve also started improving paths. It’s an uncomfortably big job to gather and spread wood chips on all of the paths at once, so I pick them off one at a time.
This year I had a big pile of willow chips from the ground-up stump of a huge willow tree that came down earlier. To keep weeds from getting a head start, I first laid down cardboard boxes or newspapers. These were actually from a stack of discarded voter guides that my wife picked up. The perfect place for politics…
…and done. Not a permanent solution, but good for a couple of years.
These chip paths just make it nicer to walk and kneel in the garden in the mornings and after rains. Here’s a path that I’d completed earlier, with the winter cover crop doing its thing…