Wow! What a week this has been around the homestead! We finally began the project of spreading the woodchips for Project Eden, our Back to Eden garden. What a project this has been too! Let me start with a little history:
- Sometime between 12-18 months ago I first encountered the Back to Eden film.
- Being unable to find woodchips in time for this past year’s garden, I covered in oak leaves.
- Though the garden did well, I didn’t fertilize, and it showed. This seems to be essential for good production on year #1.
- This year I wanted to expand the garden, and began making plans to do so.
- We encountered a company doing a lot of wood cutting and chipping around power lines in our area. After approaching them about two months ago, they began dumping chips in our yard.
- We arranged to have a mini front-end-loader to be delivered for our use over Thanksgiving weekend.
- We finally received enough chips to do our garden the day before Thanksgiving.
- We marked out the garden space, a 84 foot x 65 foot garden, which is about 10 foot shorter than I had expected, but still a respectable garden area.
- We spread a very thick layer of oak leaves over most of the garden, a commodity we have in abundance.
- We started spreading the chips and covered about half of the garden on the day after Thanksgiving.
- We spread the rest of the chips on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
I thought a few pictures and even a couple of timelapse videos might be nice to document the process better. Here are some pictures of all the wood chips. Crazy, isn’t it?
And here are a couple of time lapse videos showing our work:
So, even though we are just a few days into this, I already have a few lessons learned:
- A 5400 square foot garden is HUGE. 😀 Don’t expect the laying of those chips to go fast, even with a machine.
- The laying of newspaper on the base layer may be essential, but don’t think you are going to do this with even a slight breeze. Three of us totally failed at this.
- Wood chips begin decomposing faster than you think. Our two most fresh piles look considerably different than the one from even a couple of weeks ago.
We also expected to dig out a stump in the middle of the garden area, and were quickly reminded how strong the stump that came from a mature oak tree is. Wow! Seriously, we couldn’t even budge this thing.
I want to give a special shout out to a couple of my friends, one who loaned the front-end loader and one who delivered it. Thanks guys! I also want to say how thankful I am for my two youngest sons who worked tirelessly helping me on this project for two days. I couldn’t have done this without them.