Hay, Handsome!

One of the things I like best about the no-till, no-dig method of "surface gardening"—aside from saving my back—is the pleasure of playing with hay mulch, which is basically old, worn-out hay that, when placed in the vegetable beds between plantings, serves to suppress (some) weeds, maintain soil moisture, and stabilize the soil temperature.

Hay mulch is just the thing if you like to get down and dirty in the garden, communing with earth-bound sprites of all persuasions. It's a primordial ooze of fungal, bacterial, and insect life, squirming with quick-witted centipedes, sparkly worms, fuzzy spiders, glowing larvae, and a metropolis of unidentified whatnots. It's also home to wonderful snakes, salamanders, and rodents. Like the prize in the Crackerjack box, you never know what you'll find.

The other day, a substantial chill in the air signaled the need to get started on "autumn prep" for some of my vegetable beds. I decided to start with my asparagus bed, which has done its duty for the year. I added some compost to fortify this greedily-feeding perennial so as to feed greedily upon it come springtime. After adding the compost, I cut the string on a few square bales of mulch hay delivered earlier this summer (and nearly compost themselves at this point in time) and lay the thin "books" or sheaves of hay in the asparagus bed to inhibit weeds and provide a nice cover for wintertime.

Here are some of the handsome denizens of the hay I encountered during this process.

Speaking of handsome, comely, attractive, and adorable, our new kitten, Magnet, loves the hay as well. She turned up on our doorstep here in the middle of nowhere back in June and is now an esteemed member of the clan.


KC said...

delightful. and an excellent headline! the farm down the street upstate at times has a sign that asks, "got mulch?"

Comfrey Cottages said...

Oh Magnet is adorable:) Interesting all the crawlies you encountered:)