Dreams of mulch are giving me goosebumps

It’s March, and we’re expecting a snowstorm tomorrow night-–a bad enough snowstorm to perhaps keep us home from church on Sunday morning (and for my husband, a retired FedEx driver, it has to be pretty bad to keep us home on Sunday).  As we wait and watch to see if the snowstorm will happen, I’ll look wistfully out my window to the east, to my garden.  It’s lonesome and gray out there. 

Not a bit of green.  The garden fence is in need of repair, and my chickens pick and scratch in the soil.

My little canary must think it queer that I have been in my studio several times today, just to look out that window and dream about springtime and garden. Luciano presides over my studio, and his cage hangs in front of that window that looks out toward my garden.  Usually he has plenty of privacy in my studio, but not today.

I’ve been planting tomato seeds in flats in the house, and I’ve been reading garden books, and I’ve been trying to be patient about just getting out there, already. I’m officially Tired of Winter, annoyed with being cold, and irritated by having to pull on two or three sweaters every day.  Please excuse my complaints.  I know that we still have several weeks of cold ahead of us, but I’m ready for springtime now, thank you very much.

Remember this colour?  It's GREEN.

Remember this colour? It’s GREEN, if you’ve perhaps forgotten.

The other day my friend Anne mentioned that she and her husband were going to do something entirely different this year in their garden.  I know that this friend grows a beautiful, big garden, so my curiosity was piqued.  We didn’t have the chance to continue our conversation that evening, so I sent her an e-mail asking her to tell me what their plans were.

She e-mailed be back right away and told me about Paul Gautschi’s “Back to Eden” method of gardening, which involves lots and lots of wood chips, and piles of newspapers.  Paul is a successful gardener in the Northwest, who takes the no-till method of gardening to an extreme, with beautiful results.  Basically he dumps piles of wood chips on his soil (on top of a layer of newspapers or cardboard), which eventually decompose and create a rich, moist habitat for his seeds to grow in. He never tills. He rarely waters. He has the most amazingly beautiful and fruitful garden.  And he lives out his growing faith through his life and through his garden.

The video is right here if you’d like to watch it.  It’s a little long, but it’s very enjoyable and if you (like me) are counting the hours until you can get out and dig your fingers into the soil, it may be just what you need to get through the next week or two.

Paul quotes scripture constantly in the video, which is partly why I like him so much.

Collecting newspapers, and piling wood chips on your garden space would be a small thing that could develop into a wonderfully big and fruitful thing. Maybe it is a good thing to start–today?

There is lots more information about Paul’s method of gardening on his website, which you can find right here. 

Now the only question is: where am I going to find that many wood chips . . . ?

Happy garden dreaming, Gentle Reader!

18 thoughts on “Dreams of mulch are giving me goosebumps

  1. Anita-Clare Field

    You know what Amy? As I am writing this comment the snow is falling from the sky. It’s the end of March and I am so behind on sowing and planting. What a fantastic video too, I am going to share it on my FB page 🙂

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      We are expecting another snowstorm today, Caro, and I WILL NOT COMPLAIN but I do long for sunshine and garden soil and flowers!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Don’t give up entirely, Alessa! Just a small garden can really brighten up your life with fresh herbs and veggies.

  2. Chef William

    I have turned soft over the winter months and will be following the advice given by the birds, and fly south. I will spend hours walking on the beach and getting a new supply of vitamin D. I will sip tequila mojito’s in the evening, before dining on freshly caught red snapper bar-b-qed with a rich garlic,butter and chili sauce. Yes, I will suffer, because there will be a few days, when visiting friends in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico where there will be no electricity and we will be forced to set around campfires at night to visit. But I will make it through these trying times and return to Wisconsin to till the soil once again, just so I can taste a garden fresh tomato.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      You definitely sound like you’re in the throes of spring fever, too, Chef. That sounds wonderful. I don’t think you’ll suffer overmuch down there sitting around a campfire drinking your tequila! 😉

  3. Francene Stanley

    I remember green–and long for it. When it comes, it’ll be all the more precious for having waited so long. This year, I WILL sit outside more. Gone are the days of mulching for me. I must have gardened using that method for twenty years. Even now, membrane and wood chips cover the soil to prevent weeds that I wouldn’t be able to pull. Life is what you make it.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thanks for the comment, Francene! Life is what you make it and I hope you get to sit outside more this year!

  4. Toni Nelson

    I wonder if using the wood chips would work in Florida. We had tried to plant a small garden years ago when we first moved but the soil was terrible. At least we get great Oranges and Grapefruits!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      If you look at the website, there is a easy-to-follow list of hints to use this method. Paul reminds you that it’s aged woodchips that you want. If you use fresh ones, you’ll have to fertilize, too, since they’ll leach nitrogen out of the soil. Try it on one small area and see if it works!

  5. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    I haven’t forgotten about green – I was in Florida two weeks ago. But now that I’m back, thinking of that little taste of spring I had makes it so much worse. I stare at the dreary upstate New York sky, with the March winds ruffling the rhododendrons in front of my house and think: will spring ever come? Good luck with your storm and may spring come for you soon.

  6. AMummysLife

    It’s kind of weird knowing that you’re heading into spring while we’re heading into autumn. Our long hot summer days are ending, though our drought is no where near finishing. I’m hoping the winter rains start soon.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Are you in Australia? I didn’t realize that you were experiencing a drought, too. I’m praying that we’ll have higher than normal rainfalls this spring and summer and perhaps have some healing.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I keep reminding myself that spring WILL come . . . it always does! We’ll probably get springtime weather at about the same time, since you’re in WI. Can’t wait!!

  7. Helen

    I DID try this last year! And, we couldn’t have been more pleased. A few years ago we started with the newspaper covering (after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle). That was good, but not perfect… papers rot, every little tear will be a place for a weed, occasional papers get loose and get away… Last year we got 3 inches of wood chip mulch to cover the whole garden. It was fantastic… looked pretty, zero weeds, held moisture… We’ll definitely do it again.
    There is one question I do have though. The chips are still there covering. So when we get ready to prepare the soil next year, do we rake it off and put it back? or do we till it in and put more on top? I need to figure that out.

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