Good video about building soil health / quality

Pilot Point, TX(Zone 7b)

This is a great movie that is being streamed online for FREE. You can buy the DVD too... which I did. Link below... once there scroll down the page to see start arrow for the movie.

Quoting: to get back to the simple, productive methods of sustainable provision...

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

this is an odd film, part pseudo-science, part faith testimony, part infomercial to mulch with wood chips.

darned good lookin' garden, though.

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

Very interesting film. I do not find the concept of using wood chips revolutionary. I have used them for years as many of my gardening friends have. The difference is in the quantity. I have not been using them thickly enough in the vegetable garden and have tended to add them more to the flower gardens because of the weeding but again not enough since they break down and then I am back to soil which compacts and is harder to weed. The problem is moving the quantity needed. We don't all have backhoes handy to dump the stuff where we need it nor the energy to move such a large quantity from the piles to the gardens.

Many of the ideas put forth in the film remind me of Ruth Stout's "No Work Garden' which she wrote 41 years ago and "Lasagna Gardening" by Patricia Lanza , which many of my friends have tried to implement. I am now inspired to haul more cartloads of wood chips from the back of the property from piles left by the local electric company! That initial work is for me real work but the results appear to be worth it. I have also been using straw bales in the veggie garden, which are easier for me to handle in the long run as I grow tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in them and then have great mulch for the next season. My vegetable garden soil has improved exponentially but I agree with Paul that maybe the wood chips are the best because when they decompose it seems they provide a better variety of nutrients than even the straw does. Not ready to bring in the chickens but I got a source for rabbit manure which is awesome since it doesn't burn even when fresh! If I mix the straw, rabbit manure and wood chips I should be good to go!

Thanks for providing the link to this film. Watching it has been an invigorating experience. You don't have to be "religious" to appreciate the message nor a fanatic to implement the techniques!

Pilot Point, TX(Zone 7b)

Hi gardadore....

re: straw -- Is that fresh 'straw' that you use? I used straw as mulch one year and then next year I had a vegetable garden full of straw weeds!!

I agree with you that the wood chips require more 'back' strength. I admit to having a tractor and hired help to have mine spread. Our 10acres is heavily wooded and I had some of the dead trees cut and then made into mulch. I then had the guys spread it the fresh mulch in between my garden rows this year and it really kept all the weeds down.

I do plan on getting some chickens... at some point though. I'll have to see if I can find a 'rabbit manure' source.

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

Yes, I use fresh straw bales but put them in place in the fall so they can break down inside by spring when I am ready to plant. Then I cut holes in them, add potting mix (Pro-Mix) or my own mix of compost, coir, and perlite plus organic fertilizers and plant. My tomatoes get huge and the eggplants really seem to like them. If you are interested check out the Strawbale Gardening forum: I linked you to page 1 where you can start to read the techniques. Since it will take a long time I am also d-mailing you a copy of my own synopsis I created after reading through all those pages!!! I tweak it every year as I learn new things. I now try to get alfalfa hay bales instead because they contain nitrogen. I use only organic fertilizers. After the initial planting using granular I then continue to feed with organic liquid fertilizers (Aggrand) which is made up primarily of fish products. They also have a liquid bonemeal, lime and kelp. I use straw also in the garden for my bedding and do have to deal with straw weeds so may start adding some more of the wood chips. But the bales break down into wonderful compost after a year or two so will always keep using them. Once the bales heat up and begin to break down the straw seedlings are no longer such a problem in the bales. I just give them a good "haircut" when they get too long. Later I can pull them out easily as the bales soften.

Your garden sounds enviable! I have been adding wood chips like crazy to all my flower beds at 18 5 gallon buckets at a time. My husband shovels the chips into the buckets, I load them onto my DR wagon and cart them back to the house and gardens. We had drought for 6 weeks and now non-stop rain and the chips are making a huge difference so that keeps the inspiration going. But I probably should start using them more in the veggie garden. Good luck on finding the rabbit manure - it is great stuff. I always add it to my compost before using the compost and the flowers love it!!

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