When the Ground is Frozen Stay Out of the Garden

Composting is not for everyone, especially if you start adding kitchen waste and table scraps. I can get a pretty good soil amendment using only leaves and grass clippings but additional garbage makes for a sticky, chunky mess. You can get a bag of steer manuer for $.99 that will have as much organic fiber as your entire pile of winter compost.

Urban gardeners can enjoy the recycling aspects of micromanaging a compost pile but people with large gardens need to think in the truckloads.

When the ground is frozen solid it’s a good time to get out your clippers and loppers and trim all the vines, bushes and tree limbs that you’ve been neglecting. I start off with the loppers to get warmed up and I put the hand trimmers in my pocket for when my arms start getting tired. Then when my right hand wears out I switch to my left. Then back to the loppers. I call it my upper body workout.

I got down on my knees one year in front of the juniper next to my pond and trimmed off all the side branches until it had an umbrella like canopy. It looked like a Japanese bonsai. It retained it’s shape as it grew and now shades the pond while letting you see underneath it.

When the ground is so frozen that ice has extruded up out of it I don’t even like to walk in the garden. The crunching sound is unnerving. I’d rather be scrounging for leaves under the trees down by the creek. It’s slim pickings this time of year but every wheelbarrow load helps.

I can’t believe I still have some mud spots in the garden. There are lots of twigs and sticks that would be good shredded up and they remind me of when I used to own a shredder. I could spend an hour shredding a five foot tall pile is sticks and end up with less than a five gallon bucket full of mulch. I could go to the farm and feed store and get a garbage can size bag of shavings for $7.00.

Sold the shredder.

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