Until the past couple of years, I have had absolutely no interest in gardening—most likely because of the worm phobia I have had since I was a little girl. I vividly remember tiptoeing down a rainy street to the bus stop trying to avoid the parade of worms covering the street. I cried when I had to stop tiptoeing and run to catch the bus.
And once a pastor’s son threw a worm in my face (not the pastor’s son I married, by the way).
So back to the gardening…our desire to eat healthier and cleaner food, our growing family size and grocery bill, and our juicing habit has motivated us to grow more of our own food.
At our last house, the yard was mostly woods and deck. We grew a ton of romaine lettuce in barrels, a handful (literally) of strawberries, half a dozen tomatoes, and bowlful of peas. But that was about all we could manage to grow in the cool climate and with limited space.
Our current house has a large fenced garden area ready for planting. Sort of. We still have some prep work to do. We are using Paul Gautschi’s “Back to Eden”. His documentary is worth watching even if you don’t have a garden.
We were also blessed to visit the Gautschi’s home garden many times, and were inspired by Paul’s enthusiasm and delicious food. His main premise is that covering the ground with mulch (specifically wood chips from tree service waste) eliminates many of the problems (weed control, pest control) and extra work (crop rotation, fertilizing) that most gardeners and farmers encounter and eventually builds up beautiful soil as it composts.
We have been calling and e-mailing tree service companies asking for their waste for months with no responses. This week we saw a tree service company working on our street and stopped to ask if we could have their chips. When they said yes, Shawn and I shared with each other that we had both been privately praying for wood chips this week. God provided and we now have two truckloads of wood chips in our yard waiting to be spread in the garden! (And since I wrote this they offered us a third load, which we had to turn down!)
This is only one load. Thirty minutes after I snapped this picture, the truck came by and the pile doubled in size. This is the empty garden where we plan to spread the wood chips. When we were not able to get wood chips right away, we used the abundant leaves in our yard to mulch the area temporarily. We have also been using compost from the chicken coop to build the soil.
This is a draft of my overly ambitious garden plans. We are planning to use as many recycled materials as we can find to build trellises and supports, so much of the design will be planned around the materials we find to use.
If everything grows well, we will have more than enough to share. If not…we’ll (hopefully) learn a lot in the process and have a better garden next year…
Please feel free to share any of your gardening tips in the comments!