When we put in the beds, we put a thick layer of composted horse manure on top of the soil. Through transplanting and such, some of the beds ended up with most of the compost mixed in, and the soil on top. Those areas have been producing many more weeds than the areas which still have a thick layer of compost. So I have been mulching them. And it’s FUN! And it makes everything look like it has been freshly re-carpeted.
The benefits of mulching are to keep the weeds down, moderate soil temperature, and keeping the soil from drying out. Also, it prevents diseases that can be transferred from the soil when it splashes up onto the plants. Some of the benefits of compost are that it provides microbiotic nutrients often missing in synthetic fertilizers, and improves the soil structure. So, mulching with compost is the best of both worlds.
This is my routine. I head out to the compost pile with a wheelbarrow, a potato fork, and my handy dandy grain sifter. I put two scoops of compost into the sifter, and sift away, throwing whatever is left into a hole in the top of the pile to be composted further. This leaves me with lovely smooth compost to mulch with. This manure has been turned weekly for two months and has stopped working and is now cool and will not burn the plant stems.
And the same spot 5 minutes later with a layer of compost freshly applied. Doesn't it look nice?
Speaking of gardening collectibles, and the Greenhouse.... this little dibber board was one of my favorite items. As mentioned before, the greenhouse was torn down some 8 years ago. My husband and I had already picked through the vast mountains of Junque which the last owner had accumulated but I couldn't find the dibber. I looked, Tim looked, the owner looked. Even my mother went on several salvage missions and she couldn't find it either. Finally, on her last trip, the week the houses were to be demolished, she and the owner were making one last tour, and there sat the dibber on top of a pile, under a bench in the sales room. This dibber was from the days prior to individual cell packs, when the packs of annuals were planted in packs of 6, 9 or even 12 and had to be cut apart with a knife. This would be pressed into each pack providing holes to transplant the seedlings into. Although it was always hanging about on the front lines, everybody usually just poked holes with their fingers anyway. Still it was one of my favorite objects and it holds a special place in my garden collection.