Sunday, September 27, 2015
A Long Term Project Finished!!!!
Two years ago I started playing around with wood chips and planting. I had read about the "Back to Eden" gardening method so I thought I would give it a try.
I had load after load of wood chips brought in from the local power line crews. They are always looking for someplace to drop the stuff and since they were in the area around then the Small-Hold was really convenient for them.
Well the experiment for gardening around here was a complete and total failure. The practice was good in theory and had a lot of beneficial effects but whomever uses this method had better not have to deal with Johnson Grass or Morning Glory and they better damned well have a good supply of wood chips. I tried chipping my own to keep up with the loss due to rotting and it was impossible.
However there were some good things that came out of the experiment.
1. Wood chips proved almost perfect for filling in ruts and wet areas in gate opening and other high traffic areas. I spread a bunch of it out around the old nag water trough and behind the barn and it made those areas almost mud free for going on two years now. As the wood chips degrade they turn to dirt too and then turn those spots into higher areas.
2. Once the wood chips degraded the soil where they were put was some of the best quality you can ever find. By the end of the first year any spots I had filled with a light layer of wood chips had regrown grass and was able to be mowed without clogging up the mower blades too.
Of course I still had this huge pile of wood chips so I decided I would wait until they were a bit easier to work with and then spread em out over the last section I plan on planting fruit trees. Kinda mini-orchard area if you will.
Well that project is finally finished except for the fun part which will be putting in some trees come Spring time.
I been leveling out the wood chips and bordering the area with railroad ties to keep them contained.
I will eventually have to start mowing this area so the wood chips are not an anti-weed barrier. In fact as I was leveling the wood chips out I already removed about 200 miles worth of Johnson Grass and Morning Glory rhizomes.
There is just literally no stopping them. Even putting down a ground cover plastic does no good as the rhizomes sneak in from the sides and grow vertically sending up a shoot every couple of inches. I must have pulled out miles and miles of the roots after I leveled the chips out. The above picture is just one of many piles of the stuff.
For a couple of years however it will keep a lot of the grass and weeds from growing up and competing with the new trees. As the wood chips continue to rot down it will also make the soil so rich I won't have to worry about fertilizer for quite some time either. Lastly the layer of wood chips will also act as a barrier against water evaporation so I won't have to be as diligent about watering the new trees next Summer.
By the time this mess of wood chips completely rots down and the grass has taken root the trees should be well enough along that mowing won't bother them. I also plan on dumping some of the barn waste in the enclosed area as the wood chip level drops which will also help with drainage as the trees age since this area will be a bit higher than the surrounding yard. Kinda like a giant 64 foot by 32 foot raised bed.
I left one section of rail road ties out so I can drive the lawn mower up into the raised area whent he time comes that it must be mowed. For the first year I imagine spot weed eating will be all that is needed.
I wrangled up two snakes while leveling these wood chips out too. A little juvenile Black Snake and a full grown Garter Snake. Neither one of them were very happy about the disturbance but the Black Snake got more than he bargained for when the Rocky and Company saw him. They were convinced they could in fact eat him although they never did manage it but it was hilarious to watch them chasing him around in front of the barn.
The chickens seem to like coming out the front of the barn whenever I leave the door opened. Today they managed to get within 10 foot of the dog before he took off after one but the hens are getting used to the dog now and know how to get away from him.
Got two 12 hour days scheduled tomorrow and Tuesday so posting will probably be light. At least I got this long term project out of the way finally.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!