Yard work: October reflections

Self-tutoring about yard work: the tutor follows a family tradition.

Although I’m trying to reform, I haven’t done much yard work these past few years. Perhaps absurdly, I did much more ten years ago, when we didn’t even have a garden. Now we have one, yet I do much less.

When you’re not involved with something every day, you can lose your place, so have trouble knowing where to start. Today I mowed the back yard first, then looked at the leaves out front, under both ours and the neighbours’ oak trees.

I’ve beheld those fallen oak leaves for many days; we haven’t had a powerful south wind that would blow them away. I decided to rake them, then till them into the garden patches in the back yard.

Collecting the leaves into the wheelbarrow, then walking them to the back yard, next digging them in, took about two hours. While doing so, I reflected about my father doing the same in our family garden back in the Annapolis Valley in the early ’80s (see my post here). There, we had maple and oak trees, and others: autumn leaves were plentiful. Much as I did today, Dad would collect them, then till them into the soil. There’s one main difference: he used a rototiller, whereas I use a shovel.

Dad observed next fall, when he dug the soil to bury that year’s leaves, the buried leaves from the previous fall were gone. He even recalled that, when planting in the spring, the buried leaves had been noticeably reduced. During the winter, organisms in the soil, including earthworms, perhaps, consumed much of them. He acknowledged the idea to be surprising, since we were in the Annapolis Valley, where winter is typically cold for a few months, and very cold for a few weeks. Somehow, while the soil seemed locked in frost, decomposition continued. He mused that perhaps, under the soil’s surface, the decomposition of the leaves produced enough heat to be self-sustaining through winter.

Like any gardener, I patiently await the soil’s development this winter:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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