Adding Organic Matter to Your Garden

As the weather changes and daylight hours dwindle many of us are still active in our gardens and farms.

Our human tendency is too try to clean up too much; to manage the growing environment to suit our liking. Here’s a little reminder to leave things be. Nature is our guide. It doesn’t sweep up every fall. Leaves and plant residues are all part of nutrient cycling. Plants dying back are the food source for the soil’s microbes. It also is habitat for all the insects, arthropods and rodents during the long, cold winter sleep. Without these critters our beautiful birds and bees can not survive. Did you know baby birds eat insects only in their early months? Some birds are only insectivores while others eat seeds.

Our habit to ‘clean’ is not in tune with natural cycles. Make yourself change. Your garden will do so much better. There is lots of time in late spring, before you plant your garden to pick up any leftovers not used by nature. Most insects have fully cycled by the May 24 weekend. It’s a great time to tend to gardening and growing once again.

Until then, let your gardens rest and use this time to read up on the natural life cycles in your soil.

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Here is a small cocoon-like package we found in our garden. It is circles of leaves cut by leaf cutter bees. It is small leaf circles wrapped in leaves with pollen and nectar balled together with and egg laid on top in between the circles. Here is another reason why we shouldn’t disturb our soils in the fall. We are disturbing far more; like these important pollinators that will emerge next spring.

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