First, a clarification, which I only recently figured out. Compost and mulch. Both staples of the organic gardener, but I never really understood the difference between the two.
Compost is broken down organic matter that is added to soil, usually in the spring or a few days-weeks before planting. It is mixed into the soil. (See here, here, here, here, and here to learn about my compost pile adventures.)
Mulch is something that sits on top of soil. It protects against weather and weeds. It may or may not add value to the soil, as it can be made of plastic, cloth, or organic material. Today, Joel and I spread out the leaves that I procured last week.
(In case you haven't noticed, I've been taking pictures from this spot on a regular basis, so that looking back it will be easy to see the progression of the garden from one vantage point. Also, if you click on the images, you will see an enlarged version.)
These leaves will sit on top of the beds all winter, coming off just in time to add some compost a few days before seedlings or seeds go in the ground. Benefits of using leaves for mulch is it adds nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Over the next several months, micro- and macro-organisms will move those nutrients into the soil.
In other news, I bought a new lens today. I was recently featured in a blog post done by a good friend of ours, so I figured that because I'm (nearly) famous, I should get some respectable camera gear. The Nikkor 18-200mm fits our Nikon D40. The photo above and below show off the zoom capabilities of this lens. They are taken from the same spot - above at 18mm, and below at 200mm. That's what I'm talking about.
Lastly, a shot of the swiss chard in the fall garden (I was experimenting with the new lens.) The chard is slowly fading as the frost hits more frequently.
2 weeks ago