Winter in the garden is a place I’d rather not visit, especially after a cold front. When temperatures in the teens hit earlier in December I watched many of the plants wither away. Pine, cedar and leafs fell in gallons and all I could see was a major clean up developing.
Normally I use this type of debris to establish new raised beds but since there’s no plan to expand the garden I decided to clip and burn.
Clean up began in the backyard where the fire pit was filled with natural material turning to ashes in minutes. After two afternoons I ended in the garden where the mess was overwhelming.
For a moment I was stunned and at times caught myself thinking about the garden when it was decorated in beautiful shades of green. I wasn’t sure where to begin so I started with the herb bed.
Cypress was everywhere and I’ve discovered it smells great fresh, dried and even when it’s burning. So I racked up the mess and began clipping back perennials realizing that winter is a great time to maintain the garden a little here and there.
The peppermint was also wasted; as I trimmed it to the base I started thinking, we’re a lot like plants we have our highs and lows; sometimes we just need a rest. That’s what winter is really all about, a time to rest and plan ahead.
At this point positive thoughts energized my attitude, I was feeling inspired because this little effort was actually helping bring back plant life even though all the green was no longer present.
This wasn’t a new concept it just felt pretty amazing to be reminded.
Burning continued in the garden and so did the clipping. When the ashes cooled they were moved to resting beds where later next week sheep, llama and chicken fertilizer will be included.
Burning debris is an old fashioned method from a time when nothing was wasted. If you’re looking at a messy garden and burning is an option make sure to use some type of pit suitable for burning. A simple burn barrel would work just fine. Wood ashes from interior fire places can also be used in the garden.
This plant was hit pretty hard, some may look at it and say it’s gone just dig it up and let it go. Well I know better because after trimming I found a surprise.
Lots of new green life shooting through the mix appeared, I call this hope. It’s moments like these when I’m reminded that defeat just isn’t welcome in my vocabulary. It wasn’t long after this when I realized that cleaning up the garden was full of wisdom that inspired positive thinking.
The ashes were moved to resting containers where they’ll be covered with additional elements in a couple weeks. Using ashes in the garden is an opportunity to recycle natural waste; you can add them directly to resting beds or compost bins.
Remember only use ashes for the garden from natural materials such as wood or plant debris and always add to resting beds where no plants are growing. This is a simple thing that makes winter clean up a little easier.