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Back to Eden (part two)

The second part of our gardening adventure was to put down the covering. We chose to use un-screened wood chips from Springfield Recycling Center. They were $5 per yard which equates to $15 a truckload. They also have screened wood chips which gets out all the big chunks and leaves much smaller wood chips that will break down and compost much sooner. They run $12 a yard. We decided that it was so early in the season that the larger chips would have time to break down before next year and we were afraid that our covering would break down too soon if we used the screened. We'll see how our decision turned out next spring.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, the covering is what protects the garden and the topsoil underneath. It acts as a fairly decent weed barrier, too. How it protects the garden is pretty simple. Have you ever moved a pile of leaves or even a pile of construction scraps or a pile of virtually anything that has sat undisturbed for a few weeks. You'll notice that when you do, it's always moist underneath. The dirt is always dark and rich in appearance. The reason for this is that it was protected from the crazy environment.

Think of the wood chips to the garden just as our skin is to our body. Our skin protects us. If not for our skin, our bodies would dry up and die. So our gardens go. If they are exposed to the air, they will dry up and the top soil will erode away with the wind and wash away when it rains.

However, if you cover your garden with wood chips, the wood chips retain moisture for the dry periods, keeping your soil moist and rich, while also diverting excess water away when it rains. And, every time it rains it composts and breaks down those wood chips a little bit. And all that organic material acts like a compost tea with all the nutrient-rich tea flowing down into your garden. Your plants will thrive on it. Also, it keeps your soil from becoming compacted. The wood chips evenly spread out your weight and keep the ground from becoming compacted and unworkable. And the plants that grow in it will keep it nice and aerated.

It's been a couple weeks now since we put the covering on. Sorry for the belated posting of the video. I actually put the video together the next evening, but have been preoccupied with other projects. But, here it is. And now all we do is wait until it's time to start planting!


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