cranberry beans just sprouted from soil

Spring Garden Sprouts

Corn seedlings one day old

It’s a beautiful thing. When the Spring garden sprouts, hope becomes a bit more real. The lush green leaves of bean sprouts, the small, flat leaves of cucumbers, and the little blades of corn standing up as tall as they can….it’s a beautiful thing.

It’s been one week since I planted the garden. Most of the seeds have sprouted in my Spring garden. They seem to be so happy to be growing. Most of the “hard” chores are done for now. Now is the time to maintain the beds. A quick sweep over the soil with my new hand tool makes this an easy chore. This “Weedcomb” not only cuts the weeds better than any other tool I have had, but it also stirs the soil for good aeration. Find it here:

cucumber seedlings one day old

The last “hard” chore is to harvest leaves from our four oak trees. Raking is not my favorite outdoor chore but the benefits are worth the time it takes.

Harvesting leaves, aka, raking
  1. It’s great exercise! (Gotta make it great, right?)
  2. Grass grows better once the leaves are raked
  3. A deep layer of leaves prevents weeds and grass, thus saving time to weed
  4. Earthworms love the cover of leaves.
  5. My alkaline soil needs the acidity of the leaves for healthier plants


Today is the day that I will spend several hours raking and hauling the leaves with my wheelbarrow to the garden. Once I have the paths between the beds covered, I will make a big mountain of leaves near the garden.

Many years ago, I read that I could keep a deep layer of mulch on the garden and just rake it back to plant rows of seeds. It doesn’t work with oak leaves. Seedlings that come up are torn by the sharp edges of the leaves. And not all vegetables appreciate the thick layer of leaves.

Wait until the plants are a few inches high and then spread layers of leaves around them. The plants that thrive with oak leaf mulch are the broadleaf plants. That includes all beans, melons, cucumbers, and squash. A word of caution for melons on a bed of leaves: moisture from the leaves can cause disease. I place a colander type disk under them to help them stay dry. I found mine at the Everything’s $1 store.

Throughout the next few weeks, I will stop along the roadside where people have left their bagged leaves for garbage trucks. I know it looks weird, but that’s ok. If I run out of leaves after the Spring harvest, grass and weeds will take over my garden. I would rather look weird than have that backbreaking chore to do. Save old shower curtains to line the back of your vehicle. Yes, I put them in the back of my small SUV!

If you don’t have your own leaves, join forces and stop along the road and load ’em up into your vehicle! It will save you a lot of time later. Besides, the soil will love it.

It’s just one of the Spring garden chores. It’s all good!


Cranberry Bean Sprouts.





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