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Half way through the 2019 garden season while looking at videos on YouTube about different gardening techniques I came across the no till method called "back-to-eden gardening".
In a nutshell, it's looking to God's perfect plan for growing food and making healthy soil. It's the original and perfect permaculture plan that has been around since the beginning of time. Just look at the woods because that's the model.
The last 3 years we have had very wet spring and summer seasons in central Pennsylvania. Our garden sits on hard pack clay and turns into a mud pit for days after a rain storm. The water sits stagnant and starts to smell putrid and swampy until it drys out and cracks like the desert. A swamp is a challenging place to grow an abundant garden.
Building up the soil using raw shredded wood chips seemed to make a lot of sense and could be a solution for our flooding issues. I thought it may take the water problem and turn it into a benefit by storing all that water in tons of raw wood chips. It would be like a sponge on the wet days and on the dry days the saturated mulch would release water as the plants needed it.
I was all in.
We had 2 truckloads of raw wood chips delivered and the mud pit garden started rebounding.
Now we have a 4" blanket of raw wood chip mulch soaking up the water with each summer storm and can walk around the garden without mud boots to harvest what's growin' on...
Every morning I see lots of mushrooms growing in the mulch which is breaking down all those leaves, bark, sticks and chips. Under the mulch, the worms are busy eating all they can and making it usable by the plants.
I find it amazing to witness unfold over time.
This year we have a garden that has not flooded out and had a good harvest of lettuce, mustard, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, sugar peas, jalapenos, basil and 4 kinds of sun flowers to attract the bees which are so fun to watch do their thing.
We're even growing luffa sponges!
Before this summer I thought luffas came from the ocean... Turns out the luffa is a gourd and we have 10 of them growing on the vine.
But the best thing going out there is just under the surface. Under the mulch, rich dirt is being made that'll be ready to plant early next spring and that's the most exciting part.
Here's a great book about gardening with woodchips and Paul Gautschi's methods on Amazon.
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~ Corey Bornmann