Kicking off the Garden Year


We’re back!  I can’t believe I haven’t blogged in over two months!  Morning sickness is finally (mostly) gone, and life is getting back to normal a little bit.

The garden year is just kicking off – in the past two weeks, our friend Scott added wood-and-wire gates so the chickens and children can safely roam the backyard.   We planted several more dwarf fruit trees, as well as more currants, blueberries, silverberries, huckleberries and thimbleberries from One Green World (and boy, it’s doubly hard work when your pregnant!).   The planting plan for the year is all set, we even managed to seed the eggplants this week. (Although, we’d better get the grow lights set up before they germinate!).

Earlier this week, the free load of wood chips I ordered from the power company finally came (the order had been placed in early October, but better late than never!).  Your electric utility is a great source of FREE wood chips for mulching garden beds and paths.   All of the trees they trim out of the power lines are chipped up and thrown away.  If you call and place an order, they will gladly dump them in your yard instead.

You can see how large the load is compared to my two year-old – it’s a very large truck and it dumps a lot of chips.  It may seem like you could never use that much mulch, but we have gone through 4 loads so far on our 1/4 acre, and from now on, will probably use about 1 load a year to keep paths and beds replenished with mulch.  We could never have afforded to purchase that much mulch, so this is a great economical choice for us.

If you’re interested in mulching your yard to conserve water, suppress weed growth, reduce muddy patches, and add biomass to your garden, now (before the growing season gets going) is the time to place an order!


A few tips/tidbits of info when ordering chips from the utility company:

1)If you’ve never had a load delivered from the power company, please be aware that this is NOT the neat, uniformly shaped pieces of wood you might get when buying bagged wood chips from the garden center.  It is chipped-up tree trimmings, and it will include large pieces, twigs, possibly leaves, pine needles, and chips of several different species.

2)If your yard is like ours, you can make it work no matter what they bring you.  If, however, you need mulch specifically for plant beds, it’s good to check that a load isn’t 100%  pine before they drop it on your driveway.  Pine is far too acidic to mulch beds, unless they happen to be blueberry or currant beds.  It does, however, work great in pathways.  Our first load was almost all maple – and we used it all on planting beds, and waited for a less-perfect load to mulch the paths.

3)If you want mulch free of leaves, order chips in the winter, when deciduous trees will be bare.  Chips full of leaves are more difficult to shovel and spread, and don’t look as neat.

4)If your load has long sticks as this load did for us, put them off into a pile and use them for pea brush and other plant supports.  Or, place them underneath the cardboard when sheet mulching a new section of yard.  Over time, they will break down and add biomass to the soil.

5) When ordering chips, make sure it isn’t Black Walnut, which contains juglone, a chemical that inhibits plant growth.  You don’t want this on your veggie beds!

Next up: seed starting!

Blessings on your as you start your garden year,


2 thoughts on “Kicking off the Garden Year”

  1. Oh, I wanted to add that in the fall I sheet mulched a small area of our yard for a teeny tiny veggie patch this year. There is still a foot of snow covering it, but I can’t wait to see what it looks like come April. My husband said that we can get some chickens, too! My children are super excited about our new garden project.

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