Our garden is doing much better; still slow but better. At this point, we believe our biggest mistake was using new woodchips verses composted woodchips. This was due to our own ignorance because they did say composted woodchips in the Back to Eden Film. We have been watching the film again and studying more to see what else we can do now, and what our best options are for the future. We do not ever want to appear to be casting blame on anyone. We desire to share our mistakes so others can learn from, and with us.
So, we are gently raking off the top layers of woodchips, trying not to disturb the top layer of soil. We are then adding more compost, and re-mulching heavily with straw. The woodchips really did work great to build our soil in may other ways. It is actually beginning to look like really garden soil instead of the sandy dirt we are used to seeing. We have much more organic material in the soil and the earthworms are everywhere now. Our pest bug problems seem to be better so far this year as well. Not sure if it’s the chips/mulch or just the cooler Spring. I will be continuing to spend time watching the garden predator populations to see if the chips have helped in this way. I think they probably have. The main problem we learned in placing new woodchips on the soil was that as they break down, they “rob”, or use, much of the available nitrogen in the top layers of the soil. This layer is where the plant’s main root base is located and they need it in plentiful amounts for their initial growth stages. As you can see in the picture above, the squashes on the left in the straw had plentiful amounts of available nitrogen and the plants on the right did not. It really does make all the difference in the world. The good news is that the nitrogen is not actually gone, it’s just tied up right now as the chips decompose. So, as they complete their breakdown, the nitrogen will be released back into the soil in an available state. With all our advances in science, we still know so little about the earth itself. Truly good healthy garden soil is literally live with microbial and insect life. What an amazing design that God uses to grow everything we need for life. The better we can make our soil, the better will be our food, and then the better our health and our life!
In the meantime, we are thoroughly enjoying our spring (almost summer).
Yesterday, we enjoyed awesome oatmeal pancakes with fresh maple syrup (made by our adopted older brother Dillon Dornink!) and then had a great time in the Word on our front porch. We love to read the proverb corresponding with the day of the month so yesterday we read Chapter 18 because it was June 18th. We read 2 verses at a time rotating around in age order. So everyone gets to read and then we talk about what we read. God is good and we are thankful for all he is teaching us in this season.
All for Him, Gil and Cynthia (for the Flock)