All summer we planned to get our free leaf mulch and wood chips from the city mulching site. We set the day for Saturday, October 6th. Last week I scheduled a rental pickup truck at 7:00 AM Saturday. That day we headed over to the mulch site with the truck, eager as beavers.
As they were loading the first of what we planned as 3 trips (1 leaf mulch, 2 wood chips), Bob said to me, “Do you see any wood chips?” Panic spread instantly as I scanned the area. “Um… there’s a small pile over there. But we can ask them as we leave.”
No. There were no wood chips available!!! Truck rented and no free wood chips. I would have to call around when we got back home to see where we could buy some, and fast. The truck was only rented until 3:00 PM.
As a possible quick fix, I posted our photos at at the city mulching site on my Facebook wall and asked my friends for help locating wood chips “TODAY”. It worked! Before we arrived home, a suggestion was shared and the place was close by and their chips were $10/sq. yd. Not bad.
Since it hadn’t rained too much in the week prior, we were, THANKFULLY, able to drive the truck into the back yard and shovel the leaf mulch out into the garden over the fence.
After we were done with load #1, we ate something to tide us over and headed out to the mulch business. They had grass seed, gravel, mulch, and plain old untreated wood chips. Nice!
Here we are, way back into the thick of their giant piles of various mulches, waiting for our load.
I think these huge machines are cool. But none of them were in use at the time, just the little bulldozer, or whatever it’s actually called.
Chips ahoy, I mean, away! (sorry, had to)
This guy was so nice. He loaded us up, fully. So full in fact, that we didn’t need to come back for the 3rd load of the day. Whew!
Back at the house, it took us both shoveling for about an hour to transfer all the wood chips from the truck to a big pile in the garden. And yes, we were quite SORE for a day or two afterwards.
Since we still have a large portion of the garden growing peas, okra and tomatoes, the leaf mulch and wood chips are in piles awaiting the day we can spread them all out, along with rock dust (restorative minerals).
This was our first season growing in no-till gardens. Last year we obtained our mulch and wood chips from the city free site, and we planned the same for this year.
I’ve since been told that we should be more careful with these sources because cities often spray along roadsides and chip those overgrown areas up. This means chemicals might still make it into our garden. This good samaritan told me we should let our chips rest for 6 months or so (turning occasionally), until we find that earth worms are enjoying the piles. Earthworms, he said, won’t move in if it’s toxic.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of such space in our quarter acre suburban property. So for now, we get them where we can, place them in the fall, and hope the fungi does its work and the worms come crawling in. They did this past year anyway. We had tons of fungi AND red wigglers, neither of which we supplemented (all natural). So fingers crossed for next season! I think we will have next year’s garden still at this residence, then the following year… maybe somewhere else. 🙂