Anyone who’s known me for any length of time knows that I tend to get excited about things that most people don’t care much about. I bounce off the walls when I discover new ideas or ways of doing things. What really amps me up though, is when I begin to see pieces of a big puzzle start falling into place.
The “big picture” we’re seeing unfold here at the farm is how we can work with natural, LIVING systems to produce the food we need. That’s right, we’re talking about producing chemical-free food. I get really jazzed about building great soil because it’s living soil that gives us the most nutrient-dense, non-pesticide, non-fertilized and best tasting food available anywhere.
Our experience with wood chips has not been such an easy one however. About 5 years ago, I heard about a few people having great success with simply putting wood chips down over their garden. What was my response? Of course, I immediately flagged down all the chipper trucks I could find in the neighborhood and told them to dump their wood chips in our driveway. I then piled them on our home garden high and wide. Bad move.
I learned two major lessons the hard way:
Make sure there are a lot of leaves ground up with the chips – stay away from chips from dead trees.
Let fresh chips break down for at least a year – be patient (not my strong suit)
A couple years later and now a few hard lessons wiser, we’re able to sit back and watch soil develop on the farm at record pace. We’ve heard it said that it takes 100 years to build 1 inch of topsoil. With the right soil biology in place, we’re creating several inches in a year. It’s the fungi, bacteria, protozoa and all the other critters doing the work for us. All we have to pay attention to is: don’t kill them, feed them. When we get that right, they feed us.
I will get excited every time I scoop up a handful of living soil. Folks, this is what’s going to feed the world, not GMO’s and new chemical cocktails. We’ve had enough toxicity fed to us for too long. It’s time to start living again. As for me, I’m finding my life by looking into the very ground beneath my feet.
Happy discoveries, and never stop learning!
Tags: building soil
composted wood chips