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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Chop Chop

With the weather man calling for rain starting last night and continuing on for a couple of days I was really feeling the pressure to finish my outdoor chores. After reading Rosemarie's review of her leaf blower/chopper I did some research and was pleasantly surprised to learn you can find these for around 60-70 dollars. So, in keeping with my impulsive garden weekend I ran right up to HD and bought one. If you don't have one of these things and you have lots of leaves, GET ONE! It did get clogged up a couple of times, probably because it rained a little last night so the leaves were damp. One warning, this thing also chops up animal feces that may be hidden in your leaves and it is very stinky and very disgusting so be careful! (insert gag reflex here)I offered to rake the morning glory ladies' leaves if they let me have them and even though they said they ARE composting their leaves this year (2 houses in a row in the burbs composting leaves - ROCK ON!) they'd let me take what was there today since they just raked yesterday, the yard was totally covered today and there are still plenty of leaves left on the tree. Man that raking is hard work!
I raked their leaves and my leaves then put wet newspaper (thanks GB) on the grass left in the new front beds. I have to say I felt like a complete fool out there laying newspaper on my grass.

Then I vacuumed up all the leaves with my handy dandy new blower/leaf chopper dumping them on the wet newspaper as I filled the collection bag.

Here's what it looked like when I finished. I was so thrilled that I completed this project before the rain started. Then I sat with a backache waiting for the rain to come to help mat down the leaves but it has yet to do so. THANKS ERROR PRONE WEATHER MAN!

So, my lasagna garden is finished as far as my original plan but I just do not think this stuff will fully decompose by spring next year. I'll probably add coffee from Starbucks but maybe it needs something else? Anybody have any ideas?


  1. Your project looks great. Even if it doesn't fully decompose (which it probably won't) you can mix it up with the soil and sod underneath and it should be fine. You could try running the lawnmower over them in spring just to cut them up some more. What a lot of work you've done this year and you should be very proud of yourself.

  2. You ask for it you've got it . A garden blogger without ideas, Gina? Funny you should ask ! I think those leaves are gonna blow all over creation once the winter wind starts howling ( at least my neighbors leaves always blow into my yard ).

    My idea is to cover those leaves with some compost and manure to help that spaghetti, or was is lasagna ?, cook over the winter.

    I bet your neighbors were saying "look at that fool putting newspapers on her grass ! "

    My neighbor across the street with a big yard has one of those LOUD blowers. I prefer the old fashioned way that gives me the added benefit of a workout.

    If you have a mower with a mulching mechanism and a bag to catch the leaves it'll shred them up to the right size for the compost pile and they'll decompose quicker.

  3. Wow you're industrious. It's been so chilly here that we haven't been able to bring ourselves to bundle up and do a fall garden clean-up. But tomorrow it's supposed to be 60 and VPH even took the day off to work with me on garden clean-up.

    My only suggestion is to wet the leaves yourself if mother nature isn't cooperating or they will blow all over the place. But is that wasting water and not very green?

  4. I'm another devotee of the leaf vac, I'm on my 3d. The best way to avoid clogs (besides not sucking up wet leaves) is to wave it around across the top layer of leaves & gradually work your way down. Next time you vac up leaves, consider making a leaf mold pile. You don't have to add anything to it other than chopped leaves, and, without needing to be turned, it turns into a great, crumbly dark brown stuff that plants love.

  5. hi alyssa! thanks for stopping by and thanks for commenting on my hard work - this may be my most productive summer of my entire life.

    carolyn - if my leaves blow away i'll cry! I think I will try to find something to cover it with but mulch sure would look prettier! and i did rake all those leaves into a big pile so i got a workout AND used the big loud blower!

    heather - i cant wait to hear about your gardening day! it was 60 degrees here so i planted a couple more shrubs.

    MMD - i did keep some leaves for leaf mold. i put some in the compost, a bunch in the temporary compost bins and kept a trash can full. Plus, the leaves are still falling from the tree in my yard so I think I should have plenty more for leaf mold. Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. You crack me up. Congrats on living in a neighborhood where people actually compost!

    Carolyn is right -- weigh those leaves down or you'll be raking them back onto that bed forever!

  7. Get the hankies out, Gina because before long " it's gonna be cryin' time, " as the old country song goes.

    Don't you dare put mulch on top ! When you plant you'll just have to remove it because it won't decompose over the winter. Besides, mulch robs the soil of needed nitrogen if it's tilled in. What's wrong with some nice compost and manure ( it's a combination product in one bag ) ? Besides once it snows you're not gonna care how it looks. It doesn't stink, if that's what you're worried about.

    If you can't find compost and manure in a bag just use some good top soil as an alternative then you'll be ready to plant come Spring.

    Free advice is only good if you use it.

  8. katie - i cannot rake the same leaves more than 1 time. I think there is a rule against it!

    oh carolyn - i know you are right but I so don't wanna carry home 15 thousand bags of anything! maybe i can find somebody to deliver some compost.

  9. You are one busy gal, Gina!
    Coffee would be a good addition as it will provide nitrogen and help things heat up and attract earthworms to mix everything up for you....worms LOVE coffee! Another good item to heat things up is layer of alfalfa pellets and they are pretty cheap...look for them at a feed store.