October 16, 2013


I've begun the Sisyphean task of collecting shagbark hickory nut husks from our yard. Now, one might think because the dried husks can be used to smoke meat and because we live across the street from a small hog farm that we plan to make hickory smoked bacon. Uh, no. Being vegetarian, I have no such plans. No, I plan to use the husks as mulch to line a path through our wildflower meadow.
This is what the future meadow looked like before the Hubs mowed it for me. A tangle of overgrown, scrubby grass and weeds.
Rather than undertake the back breaking work of removing the sod and tilling the soil in preparation for planting, I'm trying the more passive method to create a workable flower bed. I've never tried this, but it sounds logical and seems like it should work. The idea is this. Cover the area with cardboard or 6 layers of newspaper. This layer is to discourage the grass and weeds from growing back. And unlike synthetic gardening cloth, the paper and cardboard will eventually compost into the soil. 

Then, there are two ways to proceed. To plant right away, cover this barrier layer with 6-8 inches of humus rich soil, sow seeds or transfer plants, then mulch. Other than watering to keep the area moist until the plants are established, that's it. Since the area I hope to "meadow-ize" is huge, I'm skipping the top soil. I covered the cardboard with a deep mulch layer of chopped up leaves. I'll leave it alone until next fall when the area should be ready for planting. At least that's the theory. 
However, much like the hickory husk collecting, my mulched area is barely a drop in the ocean. I don't have a wide enough angled lens to capture the enormity of our yard. Granted, I don't plan to turn the whole thing into a wildflower meadow. But still, my little mulched patch is like a postage stamp on a very large package. Luckily, I suppose, after clearing the yard of leaves to use as mulch, within twelve hours one can't tell we raked at all. A ready supply of mulch I have.

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