Over the long Veteran's Day weekend, we had some really great weather. We took advantage, gathering up the last leaves and cleaning the garden beds of plants that had been killed by some cold nights. We also mulched our garlic:
I planted these bulbs back in October, and most have sent up small shoots over the course of the past month:
Last year we mulched our garlic with leaves from the fall clean-up, but this year we had a bale of straw from the Dodge Agway that we had picked up for the chickens. This was back when they weren't using their nesting boxes very well, and we thought we could entice them with nicer bedding. Now they just scratch it all onto the floor of the henhouse, so screw 'em.
We also used it to mulch over the strawberries:
This, by the way, is exactly the reason we call them strawberries in the first place. Straw is the traditional mulch to protect the crowns from freezing, since they are close to the surface of the soil. We have both the strawberries and the garlic mulch held in place by bird netting, which in turn is held in place by those small, wooden stakes you see around the edges. This should hold everything down during the (inevitable) wind storms we will get over the winter.
We also placed some straw around the rose bush, but this is loose. Straw should hold together better than the dried leaves (which definitely tend to blow around), and if it stays put around the rosebushes, perhaps we can forgo the netting next year. We might like the straw better than the leaves. We'll see – this is officially a Year Two experiment, which is exciting in its own right. We've been growing here long enough to run longevity studies and compare results across seasons now!