Had to do some chop and dropping today, so I thought I'd grab a BB at the same time...
This area had buckwheat that was maturing. I let it stay for a good long time (couple months?) so that it could shade the soil and blossom for the pollinators (they adored it and were always buzzing around... many different types). There's also a ton of Hopi Red Amaranth growing around. I've let that grow too, to act as shade, stabilize the soil, help in the drought, to eat leaves off of, and to play around using the florets for dye purposes. But time for some of this to come down and mulch the soil.
In the main area, I chopped the buckwheat and the amaranth with a knife and laid them down. I also brought in extra amaranth from another area of the garden. I laid the downed plants to build amazing soil, and surrounded a few plants--a few tomato plants, a row of soybeans in front of the tomatoes, and a volunteer cuke.
The main area I mulched was around the 50 sq. feet, but to be on the safe side, I mulched the extra area to make sure it was enough in total.
Pic 1. Main area before
2. Tomato and soybean area before
3. Main area after (tomato and cuke to right side of plot)
4. Tomato and soybean area after, with amaranth mulch in front
(Note--the bare soil garden in the background is my neighbour's!)
I want to smother the grass on this strip of earth behind the house so it doesn't have to be mowed to comply with bylaws. I mulched it with a mixture of grass, leaves and small tree branches that I hand-pulled or cut with large scissors elsewhere around the house. For longer term coverage and fertilizer, I transplanted some comfrey from the other fence line. The house on that side is being demolished and it needs re-grading so I may have saved the comfrey plant!
The space covered is 3.5 ft by 16 feet (56 square feet).
Earlier this week, while giving urine to growies, I discovered that a large branch (of the curly willow tree) had broken and was trapping debris on the roof of the house. So I decided to climb on the roof and trim the tree - but what to do with all that lovely material? Well, I am going to make a willow basket but that will take barely any. I know, chop and drop! Yeah. This area is easily ignored (being difficult to get to) so the eastern neighbor's ivy and groundcover plants tend to take over. The area is 27-ft wide along the house and 9-ft deep along the fence on the south side.
I covered an area 6-ft wide by about 9-ft deep - 54 sf.
So, while looking for great willow branches for the basket, I also sorted the material into "wood" and "twig" material. The larger branches and the "wood" material went down first to help compact the weeds (plants that I don't want) then the smaller and leafy "twig" material. Since my neighbor's fig tree had some branches that needed trimming too, I added them to the chop and drop project. Between the willow and fig, I covered about 52 square feet of this back area and I am looking for more ways to deter the ivy (which tries to grow up the walls of my home).
For perspective: Initially, I was standing at the southeast corner of the house on the 3-ft tall retaining wall next to a fence that my neighbor put on top of the retaining wall leaving only a 2-ft wide access to this back section. In the fourth photo, I am several feet from the northeast corner of the house.
I chose two beds where I have overwintering vegetables-- a rectangular 16ft x 5 ft bed with garlic and some fall greens, and an adjacent triangular 7 x 4 x 8 ft bed with walking onions and struggling rhubarb. So total area about 94 sq ft.
I chopped the leaves off nearby garlic chives and peonies, and pruned the adjacent forsythia and plum trees, then used these leaves and twigs to cover the vegetable beds.
view from north end of garlic bed loking toward onion bed before chop and drop
view from south end of onion bed looking towards garlic after chop and drop
Weeds are just plants with enough surplus will to live to withstand normal levels of gardening!--Alexandra Petri