My previous post was how I managed to score some free wood chips. I have several areas I want to use them and cannot wait to get the load dropped so I can get started on some projects.
One of the places that will get the wood chips is the chicken coop. I have an area outside of the coop where I have created a landscape timber border and have been laying cardboard and empty feed bags down as a weed barrier. I will put the wood chips here and lay them on real thick to create a nice mulched area around the coop.
Right now I have about five bags of leaves in the chicken run for them to scratch around in and break them down a bit. I will be raking these up and adding to the compost pile once broken up a bit more. They will also be mixed with chicken manure and should be a nice addition to the pile. Once I remove the leaves I will add several inches of the wood chips for them to scratch around in. Again, it the chips will end up broken up a bit and mixed with chicken manure and will make a good mulch to lay down in areas I want to establish a garden in the ground. The chick manure will add nitrogen to the wood chips to keep their decomposition from robbing that nutrient from the ground. Coffee grounds are another source of nitrogen and will be mixed in as well.
I have decided the Comfrey will go at the end of the driveway and around the corner. You can see two rail road ties are across the end of the drive. I never parked up that far in the driveway and that area gets full sun almost all day long so was the area I chose to put the gutter garden. I am now in the process of laying down cardboard along that railroad tie to the right, around the corner and down two railroad ties headed to the street. When the wood chips arrive I will lay down some chicken manure and compost over the cardboard, add the wood chips and top dress it all with coffee grounds and let it set a few months. Once the weather warms I will just dig down into the compost layer and set out the Comfrey I have getting started in the gutter garden. Will add more mulch and chicken manure and it should take off and grow.
I got the idea for just laying wood chips and letting their decomposition improve the soil from the Back to Eden style of gardening. I have always been a bit lazy with gardening and prefer to find ways to let nature do most of the work. I found the video interesting.. and with free supply of` wood chips lined up and the idea of reduced weeding and work decided this was my kind of gardening. I will still grow my veggies and some flowers in the gutter garden, but in time I want fruit trees and some blueberry bushes as well as nice flower gardens. This method will go a long way to getting the ground ready to plant as well as making the soil healthy for what I want to grow. And, once these areas are planted, this method of gardening should not require a lot of work to keep everything looking nice.
Larry Hall is the guy behind the Gutter Grow Gardens and he weighed in on the Back to Eden style in the next video. You do have to remember to add a nitrogen source to the wood chips to aid in them decomposing as well as to keep them from robbing nitrogen from the soil. Larry shows his results in some raised beds as well as a piece of ground using the wood chips.
Any chips we have left I will start mulching around my trees. I have several Mesquites I want to put a nice layer of mulch around. In time, when the soil is improved, I will add plants like Hostas and spring bulbs to add color and interest. There are so many possibilities when you can get the wood chips to landscape and build soil.
One thing I will have to be watchful of is termites. Here in the south they can be a real problem and because of it I will not be putting any of these wood chips up around my house. My solution to this is to use some of the bagged chips that have termite control in them or rubber mulch around the house since it will only require a few bags and the cost will not be much.
There are a lot of new ideas in gardening that seem to actually be old ideas and a return to basics. Keeping the soil covered and returning to the ground what comes out of it are old ideas becoming popular again. And the best part of both is neither is expensive in time or money and the return on your investment is huge.