Sunday, May 29, 2011

More Mulch Please...

So, as I've said, I'm making my way through Gaia's Garden, this time slowly, as I apply what's needed in order to transform my lot, make it more sustainable, tackle problems and consider healing and restoring the soil.

How about this cool old bench? I love Davey's Trees...that's where all this cedar mulch came from, for free! The bench was sentenced to death by mulcher, but I saved it and am having the talented Bob Pool of Draco Gardens make me a metal stand. I also had my neighbor Dana get the same ginormous load for her house so we could mulch the trees across the street at the church. It's become disgustingly obvious that even though the minister apologized and said they would do "whatever was necessary to remedy the situation"...they intend to do NOTHING, and have done NOTHING.

Back to my story...chapter 4 "Bringing the Soil to Life" is fascinating and I'm taking it to heart. This load is just one of several I plan on using. The idea, for those of you who don't get the beauty of mulching, is to pile 8-12 inches, YES that much, to both stop the light completely from reaching weed/seed and to cool thoroughly the ground-bringing the microbes, earth worms and bugs to the surface to begin munching, tunneling, pooping, dying and generally aerating and packing your soil with nutrients while you do...nothing. We are giving one last deep watering before piling the mulch up, then watering the mulch on top as well.
There are fabulous stories about the genius of sheet mulching but I quit getting the newspaper years ago (I'm not a fan of the Statesman, and can read the Times online) and just don't accumulate enough cardboard and other stuff quick enough...plus Davey's is FREE. Just had to say that again...and here's the way to get some for you:

email Daniel at treemd@msn.com; be nice, be patient...they get it to you when they can, so know where you want it dumped, and how much.


The next chapter in the book discusses 5 steps to "Catching, Conserving and Using Water." How about this little lake that was the result of the giant mulch pile stopping the mad rush of rain from leaving my property? It would otherwise be wasted down the drain storm system of our fair city...taken out to sea, when we so desperately need to keep this free, clean water. At this point we have 6, 55 gallon drums that go bone dry very quickly...the best place to store water is in rich soil...which we don't have so we mulch...mulch...mulch...


Then....SWALE!!!


We are planing on digging 3 additional "fish scale" style swales in an attempt to stop the rush at varying intervals...the photo above shows the location of one such swale, yet to be built.



This is the same rain, there will be a fish scale swale in front of this gate, which right now creates a waterfall into the greens garden below.



Here's my loving spouse watching the Crocks set sail in our upper lake. This rain was only 3 inches. The phrase I've taken out of this chapter, that makes the most practical sense is "the cheapest place to store water is in the soil." Storing above ground is expensive, storing in the ground is labor intensive.


This photo may be confusing but, it's showing the far side of the front lawn...missing, yea! We have been letting the St. Augustine die for nearly 2 years...silly, silly grass in the wrong place...now that the Sycamore isn't providing full shade. This is a long term plan to turn the front yard into an edible forest!


And this is what lawn I have left. I recently moved the steppingstones, which led to the church but that friendship is long gone...whereas the path leading to the next door, that the postman, neighbors and I use, is beaten down so, use dictates change here.


We're having a huge graduation party next Saturday for my oldest daughter so the sprucing up of the garden continues, amid transformation. I will try to snap a few photos of the merriment...until next time...happy mulching

and...


Happy Gardening!

7 comments:

cat said...

definitely emailing about the mulch! thank you for your inspiration once again my dear friend! xoxox

cat said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LindaCTG said...

Wow, thanks for the Davey's tip!

Emily said...

Love your website, thanks for the inspiration.
I live in East Austin and have been in my home for 5 years. We've slowly decreased our turf space and have big beds. The mulch has formed sort of a thatch and is compacted. Is there a trick I need to use...other than going out with a garden rake occassionally and fluffing?

Bob said...

Enjoyed working my ass off for you today....slave driver. The whip marks are burning still. At least I know I'm not going to have to move that last load of mulch. That's why I'm not coming to see you until it's long gone.

Can you email me your email address? Mine is on my profile page of my blog. Thanks, Bob

Bob said...

Cheryl, Thanks for the sourdough starter!!! I have some questions....should it be refrigerated? when do I need to feed it? how much???? send Bob an e-mail...his address is on his blog. Thanks again!!!

Elgin_house said...

I'm intrigued by the swales you plan to construct. I do hope you'll post pictures & expound on the theory a little. I also hope the swales encourage the weather gods to give us a little rain...