Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Covering the Garden

Earlier this year we came across a newly released film called "Back to Eden."  So impressed were we by the contents and ideas in it, that we immediately called all our gardening friends and hosted a movie night.
(click on the picture and go to the website to watch the film for free, or borrow a copy from us!)

The film is about the gardening practices of Paul Gautschi, an enthusiastic gardener and Christian.  Over 30 years ago while struggling with the constant work of keeping up a large garden in an area which got so little water per year, he sought God's wisdom and example as to how He "gardens" in nature.  The answer, he found,  was a Covering.  I could go on and on, but you have better just watch the film.  It is definitely worth your time.

After watching the film this Spring, we decided to make ourselves a "Back to Eden" garden this Autumn.  Actually we just revamped part of our already existing garden. 
When we moved here over 5 years ago, we ambitiously cut up a large 30' x 114' section of the lawn and due to the dampness of our property, arranged it into raised beds.  This was just perfect for our soggy garden and has served us well these past years. 

 After  learning that Paul Gautschi's method (or as he would say, "God's method") of gardening worked for water-logged as well as overly dry properties, and acquiring the necessary "covering" (wood chips), we decided to flatten half of the garden rows.  (You can see the wood chips at the top of the garden.) It was a little bitter sweet - destroying something that you worked so hard on for several years, but it was also very exciting to see how this "new" method would work.

After the flattening was complete, we covered the soil with generous layers of chopped Maple leaves and wood ashes (both courtesy of Mr. Reiche), 

a sprinkling of manure (courtesy of our goats and chickens), 

and then the hauling began!  
With Josiah manning the tractor/trailer and Dad and Mom using wheelbarrows - 

 - I was spreading out the wood chips as fast as I could!

The first corner.

They kept dumping, I kept raking,

and the layer kept spreading.

I was mostly eyeballing it, but every once in a while I used a ruler to make sure we were approximately at 6". 

The "un- covered" spot grows steadily smaller!

A quick kiss for our helper - Sadie Rose. 

Closing in the gap!

It's starting to get dark so we must move fast- so close!

The last load!  Just enough wood chips!  We scraped up every last bit.

Here is the finished garden. (photo taken today with a little bit of un-melted snow still on it)
We expect that the chips will settle a bit over winter and be about 3- 4 inches by spring; which will be just about perfect.  
We'll have to let you all know how our "Back to Eden" garden goes next year.  And in the mean time, watch Paul's film for yourself!  

~ Faith