New LASAGNA GARDEN: The ground was tilled, then covered with grass clippings followed by thick layers of cardboard. The tarp was filled with leaves and drug over to the new bed.

We’ve been working on clearing out the garden boxes the past couple of weekends, pulling up old tomato vine skeletons, pulling out the few weeds and mulching the beds. We sorted out the old woodpile and gathered the rotted wood and bark and added this compost to the raised garden boxes. Next we laid down some thick cardboard in the boxes and wet it down, then covered that about 18″ deep in leaves, then topped it all off with pine needles. This should add some great natural material to my garden boxes!

I got most of my tomato plants from the farmer up the road where I always buy them. They all got some type of blight, and I noticed the crop in his fields suffered the same problem. In doing some reading I found that I mustn’t compost the tomato vines so they were added to the fire pit Mike built over the summer and burned. I also learned that I must avoid planting tomatoes in my raised beds to avoid next year’s crop suffering the same plague. I’ll also try a new source just in case the farmer’s tomatoes have problems again next year, because the plants look good when they’re young seedlings. I’ve also saved seeds from some odds and ends tomatoes I bought or was given by neighbors, so I’ll try to raise a few of my own plants this year in my new spots.

Miss Betsy oversaw the piling of the leaves on top of the cardboard.

Mike brought home loads of thick cardboard boxes that stoves are shipped to inside of, and flattened them out to make a new bed about 50 yards from the raised boxes. (I’m hoping this will be a safe distance to grow healthy tomatoes next year, and we’ll probably create other new beds as well. ) He raked leaves onto a tarp, dragged them to the new garden spot and covered the cardboard, then covered that will pine needles. After this decomposes and compacts, we’ll till it all up and should have a fantastic new garden spot about 15′ square. And it’s all free, recycled materials!

The new bed, covered with pine straw, will break down into a rich new garden spot.

I also moved some raspberry and blueberry bushes today to create a more practical and inviting layout. It’s raining tomorrow so that should get the transplants and the sleepy garden beds ready for the winter. Whew!