Monday, October 12


Unless you live in snow country, and the ground is already frozen and covered with snow, it's the best time to make a new garden. Make a plan (decide how the garden will look and where it will be) , choose plants and gather materials.

Once you have a plan you can mark the new garden in various ways; a rope, water hose, sand or spray paint (outline the garden). Cover the inside of the marked area with overlapping layers of wet newspapers. Cover the paper with layers of organic material; peat moss, grass clippings, chopped leaves, compost, spoiled hay, barn litter, or whatever is handy. Continue layering until the layers are high enough to plant in.

When you choose plants for the new garden keep in mind it is a fall garden and fall is the best time to plant trees, shrubs, bulbs and perennials. Most will need at least twelve inches and some will need up to twenty four inches.

When you are ready to plant pull the layers of material aside and place the plant on top of the paper. When you lossen the plant roots it will make the plant shorter than it appeared in the planter. Spead the roots on top of the paper and pull the organic material back around the roots. Press down on the material, pushing air out of the surrounding material, and water.

Once the new garden is planted continue placing layers of organic material around plants, As the layers of material decompose roots will stay covered. Fall is a great time for this as there is such a huge supply of leaves. I blow leaves onto my driveway, or onto the grass, and using my mower cut them into smaller pieces. Shredded leaves make a beautiful mulch and decompose at a faster rate than whole leaves. If you don't have access to leaves then use bagged mulch to top off the garden.

If you are planning a vegetable or flower garden for next year a little prior planning can make that job a breeze come spring. Follow all the steps above; paper, material and water, and let it sit for the winter. In the spring the soil will be rich, black and alive with worms, proving it is fertile. It's quite inspiring to look out the window during the winter at your new garden and envision the vegetables and herbs growing there in the summer.

Fall is also a great time to add organic material to established gardens. Once you do the fall cleanup in the vegetable garden add 10 to 12 inches of chopped leaves. In foundation and other flower gardens a foot of chopped leaves will protect the roots and add to enriched soil.

Look at fall and leaf drop as a blessing not a curse.


  1. Found your blog via a Halloween partyer's favs list.

    Absolutely fascinating what you are doing.

  2. Thanks, It's been 20 years since I discovered I could garden without power tools. This year I put in a grass path through the woods and it is beautiful. The excitment of being able to garden organically and almost free never lessens.