SECRET WEAPON: MOODOO
The intensity of color, the size, and the health of what pops out of the ground from March to November depends on what goes on top of the ground in late fall after the deciduous trees have lost their leaves and the garden flowers have been deadheaded. Healthy bulbs, plants, and trees need regular nourishment and soil enrichment.
While my approach is minimalist, I take soil preparation seriously. Each fall 300, 34 qt. bags of MOODOO arrive and the steady application of this organic blend of cow manure and compost begins. No worries--this is composted cow manure, an odorless soil enhancer and fertilizer.
My house sits on an old New England apple orchard and we inherited rich garden soil with amazing drainage. Other than some rock removal, aerating, and serious weeding, maintaining healthy dirt remains the primary focus. I don't mulch. Visually, the dark earthy color and smell of healthy dirt more appealing than some rusty wood chips that make it impossible to determine the health of the soil below them. MooDoo performs the same purpose as mulch--it helps retain water and stunt weed growth. It also has the added benefit of feeding the depleted soil nutrients.
Once the perennial beds and trees are ready for their long winter nap, spread a 3-inch layer of MooDoo over them. Use a garden spreader for the lawn and make one pass over any grassy areas. This liberal application helps to protect plants during the winter months. My garden beds look better than ever after a record breaking 138 inches of snow this past winter. I'm convinced that what comes out from below in the spring is a product of what goes on top in the fall.
Wait--we're not done yet. Another 150 bags of MooDoo arrives in spring just as the crocus and hyacinth push their thick stems through any remaining snow. As soon as my wellies stay on top of the ground without squelching and slurping, the wheelbarrow becomes filled with MooDoo and I start feeding the roots and shoots peeking out of the ground. A 1-inch redressing is perfect. From May to September, once a month, a light layer of MooDoo is all that is added to my raised vegetable garden and handfuls tossed in the tops of the pots lining my patio.
MooDoo has proved that less is more. Why use chemicals to get rid of weeds if it is possible to do so preventably and naturally? Healthy grass and plant roots grow deeper and stronger and need less water when soil is healthy. It is far easier and more cost effective to add compost to the land than it is to try to spot weed and kill unwanted plants and organisms with chemicals.