Vegetables and Fruit forum→Leaves in Vegetable Garden

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ala1984
Apr 14, 2020 7:52 PM CST
We live in NC. We have good ole red clay as our dirt. Every year it has gotten slightly better to work, but the Johnson grass is terrible. I spend hours every day weeding. My husband decided that a good way to keep the weeds out, would be to cover the whole thing in leaves. Now, the entire thing is covered in leaves, I need to plant in the next week or two, but every time I walk out there all I can think about is how I'm going to reach down and grab a snake. We have a lot of snakes around here. They are not mulched up leaves either, they are just freshly raked leaves. I was never really on board with the leaf idea, but he thought it would be fantastic. Does anyone have any suggestions? My idea was to till them in, rake it smooth, and go from there. He says if I till it, then the weeds will go insane. Which they do anyway... Does anyone have any ideas for what I should do?
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Apr 14, 2020 8:00 PM CST
Welcome!
Can you till them, then use mulch as soon as you plant?
I started using black fabric landscape cloth between my vegetables, it is pretty nice to have everything cleaner, less dirt splash, clean feet. And almost no weeds.

I don't have Johnson grass to deal with tho.

Two years now we have thrown a lot of fall leaves on the garden in fall, till them in spring. But they had all winter to start decaying. And chickens scratching around in them.
A bunch of tiny weeds are starting now but we can scratch them out easily.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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pod
Apr 14, 2020 8:20 PM CST
I will second the Welcome!

A couple thoughts crossed my mind. If the leaves aren't shredded, they will form a mat that moisture won't get through. That won't help your plants at all. If you can't mulch/mow them or till them in, I would use them in the pathways. Your foot traffic will cause them to crumble through out summer. Then the leaves that have broken down can be added to the planting areas.

And I agree, I would be very careful about snakes. I am in a similar situation here. Copperhead snakes like to get in leaves or pine straw so I am more than cautious. Good luck.
Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch

ala1984
Apr 15, 2020 8:04 AM CST
I am thinking till them, plant my vegetables, then line my pathways with mulch or wood chips. Don't put the mulch right against the plants. Then, hopefully the mulch will keep down the weeds, at least the weeds in the rows.

Alexisrashid72
Apr 15, 2020 8:27 AM CST
New vegetable garden planted and the Candyland tomato leaves are turning black/brown yellowish. Is it fixable or should I start over?
Thumb of 2020-04-15/Alexisrashid72/ba194c

Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
Apr 15, 2020 8:41 AM CST
ala1984 said:I am thinking till them, plant my vegetables, then line my pathways with mulch or wood chips. Don't put the mulch right against the plants. Then, hopefully the mulch will keep down the weeds, at least the weeds in the rows.


@ala1984 That sounds good to me. I planted into wood chips a few years ago after grinding a tree stump, it was a good year.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias Garden Procrastinator Enjoys or suffers hot summers Butterflies
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Intheswamp
Apr 15, 2020 9:08 AM CST
Well, in regards to the leaves matting, it seems (in my feeble mind) that it depends on what type of leaves they are. Water oak, post oak, and similar leaved oaks are flat and "slippery" and indeed will mat up. But, white and red oak leaves are much more curled and have more extreme lobes to the leaves which tend to make them more "fluffy" and "crumbly". I throw both of them into my garden but I much prefer the white oak and red oak leaves over the water oaks. Pecan leaves are more similar to the white/red oaks than water oaks so they crunch pretty good, too, but I seldom use them in the garden. I failed to harvest my oak leaves this year but will get'em this fall!!!

Snakes. Yeah, we have copperheads and timber rattlers here. Heck'uva camouflage package, eh? We see about the same number of both...and thankfully we're not overrun with either of them. They can indeed hide beneath the leaves but they can also hide in the pea vines, beneath the squash leaves, amongst the collards, beside the Nandina bush coming up our front steps, etc.,. We should all be observant and keep our eyes open wherever we are...in the garden, at the grocery store, or at Chong's Nail Chomper Salon getting a pedicure (they banned me, broke too many clippers on my hooves toenails).

Having said all of the above I went and checked out snakebites in North Carolina. What I found surprised me. In some articles NC is noted for having more snakebite victims than any other state in the Union. Blinking I'm not sure where you are located in respect to Wake County, but it appears that Wake County leads the state in number of bites. Copperheads account for most of those bites. A point of note is that about 50% of the bites are "dry bites"...no venom injected. Also, that copperheads cause fewer fatalities than the rattler family does. But, I'm finding different reports for different states...so the data I've cited could be contradicted elsewhere.

So, I dunno what to tell you about the leaves. They're very good for your garden and mulching is good, but in your case ya'll will have to weigh the risk/cost/reward involved. Gardening is supposed to be enjoyable and good therapy...if it causes worry and fear then maybe something needs to be changed. Talk it over with your husband some more. You or a loved one would probably never be bitten or possibly even find a snake in the leaves but the worry you have is harmful in its on right. To me it seems that your concern/fear of getting bit should be a serious part of the conversation. But, regardless whether there are leaves or no leaves...keep your eyes peeled. Dressing for snake country is long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and closed-toe shoes/boots. We've all got our level of comfort to deal with. Thumbs up

Best wishes!
Ed
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias Garden Procrastinator Enjoys or suffers hot summers Butterflies
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Intheswamp
Apr 15, 2020 9:14 AM CST
sallyg said:

@ala1984 That sounds good to me. I planted into wood chips a few years ago after grinding a tree stump, it was a good year.

Sally, just curious...did you add extra nitrogen to help the microbes break down the chips?
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias Garden Procrastinator Enjoys or suffers hot summers Butterflies
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Intheswamp
Apr 15, 2020 9:19 AM CST
ala1984 said:I am thinking till them, plant my vegetables, then line my pathways with mulch or wood chips. Don't put the mulch right against the plants. Then, hopefully the mulch will keep down the weeds, at least the weeds in the rows.


Thumbs up Till'em in. It sounds like you got a good plan. In the past I would gather leaves and pile them thick on the garden...I'm talking about over a foot deep in leaves over a 50x25 garden. Let them sit for a few months over the winter until about a month before planting time in the spring then till them under. Chips and other mulch such as leaves in the paths sounds good...it can be incorporated into the planting areas eventually.

ETA: BTW, welcome to the forum!!!!
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
[Last edited by Intheswamp - Apr 15, 2020 9:19 AM (+)]
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Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias Garden Procrastinator Enjoys or suffers hot summers Butterflies
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Intheswamp
Apr 15, 2020 9:33 AM CST
Alexisrashid72 said:New vegetable garden planted and the Candyland tomato leaves are turning black/brown yellowish. Is it fixable or should I start over?

Welcome to the forum! You might want to start a thread in the forum (Vegetable and Fruit) with your question so you will get more replies. I'm guessing it is early blight. A little info at this link:
https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php...
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
Apr 15, 2020 11:31 AM CST
Intheswamp said:
Sally, just curious...did you add extra nitrogen to help the microbes break down the chips?

@intheswamp
I did not. well, maybe some casual 10 10 10 or similar. I didn't worry much about them robbing nitrogen. Personally I feel that's overblown. Shrug!
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Toni Melvin
Sherwood Oregon (Zone 8a)
Region: Oregon Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs Beekeeper
Permaculture Composter Canning and food preservation Bee Lover Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Toni
Apr 15, 2020 12:08 PM CST
Welcome to the new members Welcome!
I LOVE this thread!
I have been planting in sawdust, sand and LOTS of leaves for about 4 years now. The reason being, after 12 years of battling gophers (they eat EVERYTHING), I decided to go with raised beds as much as possible. So an inexpensive planting medium is sand, sawdust, and leaves. I don't fertilize as much as the "gurus" say I should and things have been growing wonderfully. We also have this horrible creeping grass that roots everywhere. The roots are very very strong and nearly impossible for me to pull. Unfortunately, the gophers can't keep up with it either, so when I started piling the leaves on, it kept the grass at bay, and what is there is sooo much easier to pull. So, keep at it, you will win.



Thumb of 2020-04-15/Toni/ac4ff5





Thumb of 2020-04-15/Toni/7604b7

Toni
I aspire to be the person my dog thinks I am
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias Garden Procrastinator Enjoys or suffers hot summers Butterflies
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Intheswamp
Apr 15, 2020 12:11 PM CST
sallyg said:
@intheswamp
I did not. well, maybe some casual 10 10 10 or similar. I didn't worry much about them robbing nitrogen. Personally I feel that's overblown. Shrug!

Science says that there is indeed something to the nitrogen/carbon relationship but I'm not sure as to what extreme. Sounds like it worked good for you without the added nitrogen! Thumbs up
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
Eat more tomatoes!
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gardenfish
Apr 15, 2020 12:20 PM CST
Never had a problem with wood mulch in my perennial bed. I use straw in the veggies.
“ Be kind whenever possible”
14th Dalai Lama
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias Garden Procrastinator Enjoys or suffers hot summers Butterflies
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Intheswamp
Apr 15, 2020 1:01 PM CST
Toni said:Welcome to the new members Welcome!
I LOVE this thread!
I have been planting in sawdust, sand and LOTS of leaves for about 4 years now. The reason being, after 12 years of battling gophers (they eat EVERYTHING), I decided to go with raised beds as much as possible. So an inexpensive planting medium is sand, sawdust, and leaves. I don't fertilize as much as the "gurus" say I should and things have been growing wonderfully. We also have this horrible creeping grass that roots everywhere. The roots are very very strong and nearly impossible for me to pull. Unfortunately, the gophers can't keep up with it either, so when I started piling the leaves on, it kept the grass at bay, and what is there is sooo much easier to pull. So, keep at it, you will win.

Your garden looks great @Toni !!! Healthy looking plants! Thumbs up Sand, leaves, and sawdust...cool! I can remember what you call the style of gardening where you pile up small limbs, leaves, dirt, etc.,. and plant into the mix. But, you're "mix" seems like a refined version of that! It sure appears to be working well! I tip my hat to you.
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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pod
Apr 15, 2020 1:46 PM CST
@Toni ~ I love your raised bed set up. How many square feet do your beds total?

I have smaller raised beds set up. I have five working beds and will be assembling the sixth in the next few days.


@Intheswamp Hugelkultur is what you are thinking of. It works well. Including in raised beds. I put dead hardwood in the bottoms on my raised beds while building them. When a season is done, I pull plants to look at the root system and often find the roots are all drawn to the wood. The ground also retains moisture better as well. Thumbs up
Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias Garden Procrastinator Enjoys or suffers hot summers Butterflies
Image
Intheswamp
Apr 15, 2020 7:00 PM CST
Yes, that's it. Hugelkultur. Wow, I spelled it right the first time I typed it! Hilarious! That is interesting about the roots going for the wood...there's something there they definitely like! Really cool. Thumbs up
The poorest of the poor, a nation of children taking care of children - https://handsofloveusa.org/
Name: Toni Melvin
Sherwood Oregon (Zone 8a)
Region: Oregon Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs Beekeeper
Permaculture Composter Canning and food preservation Bee Lover Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Toni
Apr 16, 2020 10:51 AM CST
@pod
Kristi ~
my raised beds are 325 square feet. We have about 4 more to build. Then I have 700 square ft of ground area that I plant corn and squash with fingers crossed the gophers will leave it alone. But, I just saw a big hole (gopher) in the middle of that area yesterday Grumbling

@Intheswamp
Thank you Ed I tip my hat to you. I absolutely enjoy watching things grow, and eating them Hurray!
Toni
I aspire to be the person my dog thinks I am

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