Eden Gardening – Part 2

Oops…this was supposed to be up a while back, but it did not post…sorry…tech scheduling error .

I know it’s no longer winter and spring is upon us, but this may give you ideas for next fall.

This is a continuation of my epic garden fail this past spring 2015.

If you read the Eden Gardening – Part 1, the whole sordid story is publicly posted for the world to read, and laugh, or cry – like I did. There is also a nifty film recommending Eden Gardening – a very productive and deeply naturalistic gardening experience that I think you will enjoy….IF you enjoy gardening.  Back to Eden Film

Are you ready to do something different this next year – the time to start is now!

Now?  it’s near winter for crying out loud! ~ yep it sure is.

It would have been even better if had suggested this in September as the last of your last withering crops were being tilled out of the ground, but that would have made too much sense.  I, unfortunately, neglected to layer my garden this past fall – I was still licking my wounds over an epically failed garden.  Next year – I’ll supplement my wood chips in the fall.  

The BEST part about spreading wood chips is:
No pre-weeding or plowing is required…just pour, spread and ignore.
Love It! 🙂

The reason to start laying your wood chip foundation in the fall or winter is so that it will have time to compost underneath and provide a nice bed for your growing plants next spring.  By year spring number two, after you have applied your second layer, the soil below will be a deep brown-black color and very rich in vital nutrients your plants will love!

Where to Find Wood Chips:

Fall wood chip pile. source: Restored Roots

Fall wood chip pile.
source: restoredroots.com

Your local city waste management company may be able to direct you to where the tree and brush recycling centers are located.  Often you will need to bring your own pick-up truck, and there maybe a cost to obtaining wood-chips.

There are also businesses that will deliver wood chips to your garden location, but most will only dump them in, or near, your garden space.  Delivery drivers usually do not spread the chips, so you will probably have to do that yourself or hire someone to spread them for you.

Note: Sawdust is NOT the same as wood chips.  The wood chips I am referring to, come from natural roadside gleaning, where the utility companies come in and cut local wood to clean up a street or neighborhood.  Using treated wood chips – either pre-sprayed for weed suppression – or treated wood for insect prevention will negatively effect your garden area and possibly introduce contaminates into your garden harvest.

How to Spread the Wood Chips

When your wood chips have been dumped on your garden space, you will need to spread them over your garden area. Spreading wood chips is hard work – sorry, but it is.  I suggest the employment a few family, friends and neighborhood kids, well armed with rakes, shovels and wheel barrows.

For a garden foundation spread the wood chips over the garden area at a minimum of 8 inches – deep.
(If you are planning to use as a mulch over settled beds, then 2-4″ would be a better spread.)
The reason for 8 inches is to allow for complete weed suppression and self-heating composting for next spring plantings.
It will take a large truckload of chips to create an 8 ft x 6 ft’ garden space at least 8″- 12″ deep.  Most truckloads will cost you 60.00 – 150.oo to deliver, unless your area is giving truckloads of chips away for free. If so, they may deliver the fresh truckload to your garden space, at the end of the day, on their way back to the office.

Raised Bed Eden Garden

If you want your wood chip garden to be uniform or in a raised bed – it is easy.  Rake the edges of the chips to your desired height and then surround the garden bed with either raised bedding materials or set edging material around the wood chip area. Then fill your raised, bed-to-be with wood chips.  You can also mix in dried leaves as a compost extra.
Caution: avoid Walnut leaves, they inhibit germination 

When the wood chips are spread, cover the bed with dark plastic and let it sit through the winter to break down into a nutritive soil.

What Happens to the Wood Chips After they are Spread?

When the thick bed of wood chips has been spread over the garden bed in the late fall and left to sit until spring, the wood chips at the bottom begin to compost.  This composting causes heat to develop in the wood chip bed and promotes wood chip disintegration.  This composting is a good thing, because nutrients trapped in the plant material, mainly wood chips, are broken down and absorbed by the soil to aid is providing the proper diet the garden will need during the growing season.

Gardening in Wood Chips

The first spring after wood chips are laid down, there may not be sufficient composted wood chips beneath.
The wood chips continue to break down through the growing season and into the next winter, but the first year the composted bed is just beginning to establish itself.  You may need to purchase some composted soil to make up the difference sue to a lack of developed compost in you first year gardening bed.

During this first year, the soil surrounding the pre-sprouted plants will provide extra growth medium while the compost bed further establish themselves.   Remove the excess potting soil surrounding the plant roots, without leaving them bare, and mix the loose potting soil with the compost in the hole prepared for the plant, then place the plant into the mixed dirt.  When the two mediums are mixed like this, the plant roots ‘taste’ the composted soil mixed with the potting soil and accept this new mix as part of its natural growth medium.

Maintaining the Wood Chips

Just as a harvested garden is plowed under and prepared for the next planting season, so too will the wood chip garden need pre-winter maintenance.  Before you break a sweat, I assure you that this part is easy compared to the old-fashioned way of maintaining a garden.

Here’s what you won’t be doing: Rototilling, plowing or preparing the ‘soil’.

The step is simple, remove any unwanted plants, (ie: weeds), leave the rest for compost, then spread more wood chips – another 4″ to 6″ – and let it sit for another winter season.  You can weed if you want, but it is not necessary.  If you choose not to weed then add an extra 3 inches to the wood chip layer to ensure that the weeds get well composted.

By year two, the Spring wood chip compost layer will be rich and dark, basically like fresh new soil.

Maintaining the wood chips is easy.  Each year, all you need to do is add another thick layer of wood chips in the fall, (cover them, if they are in a bed), and let them sit.  That’s it!

Follow the Restored Roots Gardening Experience, parts 1 and 2:

Our First Back to Eden Garden (Part 1) – Early Summer

Remember, if you purchase a soil supplement, such as compost, topsoil or potting soil the first year, your seedlings and seeds will not have so much of the struggles that restoredroots started with.  As for slugs, they can be managed with an organic slug bait or with the old-fashioned near-beer in a tuna-can ritual.

Our First Back to Eden Garden (Part 2) – Early Fall

I love Eden Gardening, Restored Roots loved Eden Gardening and I think you will too!

May the Storage Be With You,

Anne  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rethinking the Garden Plot

My mind is not always very organized.  I usually start out with abstract and unconnected thoughts which slowly materialize into something cohesive and tactile.

It took me 2 years, of writing and rewriting my decades-long learning curve, to complete my book.  Most of the rewriting was organization ~ reorganization ~ of how I wanted my thoughts presented.     Get the Book

Now here, like with writing, a garden is an expression of our minds.  There are gardens that are neat and orderly and gardens where just about anything grows anywhere.  My gardens often fall somewhere in the between category, leaning more toward the ‘growing anywhere’ garden than anything that would appear orderly.

This video, that originally aired on a local California news channel has inspired my mind to make better use of the new garden space I have been blessed with.  Imagine what I could do with my yard space IF I were organized!

“Ever thought of growing your own food but didn’t think it was possible? It’s more that possible! It might even be the way of the future. If the Dervaes family can do it while living in Los Angeles, I think you can to.

The Dervaes family live on 1/10th of an acre 15 minutes from downtown L.A.. In itself that’s not strange. What’s crazy is that they manage to maintain a sustainable and independent urban farm. Complete with animals!

In a year they produce around 4,300 pounds of veggies, 900 chicken eggs, 1000 duck eggs, 25 lbs honey, and pounds of seasonal fruit. There are over 400 species of plants. What?! They have everything they need to ‘live off the land.’ From beets to bees. Chickens to chickpeas.” 1.

My garden area is a self watering leach field, that does not puddle or retain excess amounts of water.  Since it is on a very gentle slope, all the water that is not absorbed is directed into a ditch along the road.  I am not sure if that ditch floods, but I imagine that if there was a major downpour, a puddle or small lake may form in the roadway behind my home.

This garden appears to be a mix of permaculture and squarefoot gardening.  I really liked how they conserved water in a drought stricken environment.  They have chickens, ducks and goats to go along with their immense garden in such a tiny space.  I mean, if chickens really smelled that bad, the neighbors next door would be up in arms with the goats and ducks too.

Here is the inspiring video:

 

 

I’m starting to get my gardening mind organized…

May the Storage Be with You!
🙂

1. Source: http://diycozyhome.com/6000-lbs-of-food/