Mount Mulch-more

Sorry.  Sometimes when thinking of a blog post title I’m overcome with cheesiness.  I can’t help it.  I type the first stupid thing that jumps into my head and there’s no changing it, no coming up with a replacement, no tweaking it and making it better.  It’s like it’s super-glued to the screen and can not be removed.  My SEO scores are always ridiculously low because I don’t title posts properly and I can literally hear readers’ eyes rolling as they see the titles pop up.  If I were to write a book one day, it would never get picked up by a publisher due to whatever stupid title I chose for it.  I accept this flaw in myself and hope you still read my posts after you’re done rolling your eyes.  🙂

opening image for orchard

So we’ve had multiple crews from a tree removal service for the power company in our neighborhood for months now trimming the trees around our power lines.  I left my address with no less than three of them begging them for a load or two of wood chips so that we could put a covering on the area in our woods (behind the garden) that we cleared this spring to make room for a little mini orchard.  Nothing happened.  My Super Awesome Husband talked to a crew one day and we got a huge load the very next day.  I was soooo excited.


Then we got another load.  WOWEE!!  This is great, I thought.  Exactly what we wanted!!


Then I came home to a third pile.  Well, okay.  Now we can maybe mulch a nice path along the fence so I can easily walk back to the orchard.  By the time I came home to pile #4 I was starting to get concerned about all of the work involved in moving the chips.  #5?  They can’t possibly dump any more.  That load needed to be shoveled and swept from the road.  There is NO more room.  WHAT must the neighbors be thinking???  #6  #@&#@  @#%&@@!!!  Why are they still doing this?  #7 I got home with the kids and stared at the mountain and laughed.  It was beyond absurd at this point.


That last photo?  Not all of it.  They put some in the woods off to the left.  There was no way possible for me to move it all with shovel and wheelbarrow like I had two years ago when I started Back to Eden gardening.  We had to borrow a bobcat.  I even got a visit from the HOA office at this point.  “Good morning.  Is, uh, this all yours?  We’ve had a few complaints from your neighbors.”  Nice.  Gotta love HOAs.  Luckily the bobcat was in the yard waiting for the weekend at this point, so I just gestured in that direction.  I had to eventually put a sign in our yard so that they wouldn’t bring us any more.

I’m off topic again.  Another flaw.  I write the way I think.  Welcome to my head.  Scary, isn’t it?  🙂  Back to Eden gardening.  Quite possibly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to watch this film.  It’s free to view online, so you have no excuse whatsoever not to watch it yourself here.  You can also purchase a copy if you aren’t able to watch it online, or if you’re like me and want watch it over and over.  When you are done watching it five times, you’ll still want more, so I totally recommend the garden tour videos and interviews with Paul that are done by L2Survive on YouTube.  You can find those here.  If you fall completely in love with the idea and want to try it yourself, I am a member of an awesome group on Facebook that you can request to join here.  Gardeners rock!

The method is sooooo simple.  It just models nature.  If you look in a forest, the ground is never bare.  It is always covered with composting leaves, needles, plants and fallen trees.  With this method you never, ever till (this makes someone in my house VERY happy), you just cover.  If you are planting over weeds or grass you lay down a layer of newspaper, then compost (if you are planting right away) then wood chips.  We are not talking bagged mulch or bark, but chipped branches of trees that are mostly leaves and needles.  That is a very basic rundown.  Watch the film to get all of the reasoning and see the results.  For me it has meant very little weeding, hardly any watering, beautiful, healthy plants and delicious veggies.  I can’t say enough wonderful things about it.

We used cardboard along the path we made to the orchard to block the weeds.  We won’t be planting here, so I don’t have to worry about how long it takes to break down.  All I wanted cleared was the area the cardboard is laying on, so I could walk back without having to walk down the road.  The Super Awesome Husband cleared extra space to the left and I was THRILLED to have that extra room for some blueberry bushes and raspberry canes.


You can see little patches of weeds here and there, so they got a little cardboard treatment too.


Then the wood chip moving began.


Thank heavens for my Super Awesome Husband and this little machine.


I even got in on the action!  When I wasn’t worried I’d run over one of my little trees or terrified I’d hit a big one, this was FUN!!  🙂


“Someone” had a moment of non-super-awesomeness and bent my little fig tree over.  Hopefully it will be okay.


The path looks fantastic!!  And look at all that extra space!!  Woo Hoo!!


I have a lot of raking to do to smooth the piles a bit, but I was done being attacked by a bazillion chiggers, so that will save for a day this fall when the cold weather has killed the little demons.  “Some” people are tired of my whining, but here we are five days later and I am still itching like a maniac with the pox.  I don’t recommend it.



For the record, that’s a LOT of freakin’ wood chips people.


My magical little orchard at the edge of the forest.  I’m so excited for the gifts it will provide.


Gardening really is a lesson in faith and hope and patience.  You have to believe that all the work you do will lead to great reward, you must hope that everything goes well and that you’ve done all that you need, and you must wait patiently while the little trees sink their roots deep and bear fruit, or for the tiny seed to grow and flower.


sign off green



  1. Heidi @ Pint Size Farm

    Wow, that is a lot of mulch! At least the HOA allowed it. It looks great 🙂

    1. Walking Softly Upon the Earth (Post author)

      Thank you!! It does look so nice back there now. I’m so excited about the fruit we’ll start getting in the next couple of years. I’m a big the-exact-opposite-of-a-fan of HOAs, especially since ours doesn’t allow me to keep a couple of laying hens in my backyard. I have a feeling we would have gotten a bit more than “just checking” if the bobcat hadn’t been sitting there waiting to move it all in a couple of days.

  2. Pat Roderique

    Did you use all the mulch? It really looks great! I am SO glad I don’t have to cope with an HOA (what does that stand for, btw?). We live on my husband’s family farm. There is a spot that looks similar to yours, but it’s so far away from the house! I envy your having such a peaceful area close enough to enjoy daily.

    1. Walking Softly Upon the Earth (Post author)

      We did! I’m actually very glad now they went a little crazy dropping it off here, because one or two loads wouldn’t have covered everything I wanted covered. We were definitely provided what we were needed, instead of what we wanted. 🙂 It is nice and thick back there, so we shouldn’t have to do it again for a very long time. I remember Paul saying in the film he had put down like 12-18 inches in his orchard and never had to add more. Fingers crossed!! HOA is home owners association. It’s a bad word in this house. 😉 I long for a little farm, but we do have a pretty spot here, surrounded by the woods. Thanks for stopping by!!!

  3. Erin M

    HI!! Loved your post. I’ve just spread about 25 cubic yards of wood chips all over my back yard by hand, We bought the house next door and in October my manure guy is bringing equipment to turn that back yard into a BTE garden. I wish I knew someone on Vancouver island I could share into with. 🙂
    I will be following your progress!!

    1. Walking Softly Upon the Earth (Post author)

      Thank you!! Good luck with your garden!! It is a lot of work to set up, but boy is it worth it!

  4. Alexis

    It looks great! How awesome that you got that over abundance of wood chips for nothing! Looking forward to updates as your forest grows.

    1. Walking Softly Upon the Earth (Post author)

      Thank you!! I had to smile and know it’s true that you don’t always get what you want, but you always get what you need. 🙂 I’ve ordered trees to plant this fall, and we will be adding all kinds of plants and a few more trees in the spring. I can’t wait to share!

  5. Cecile Smith

    I smiled right along with you…..:)
    I did a BTE garden this year after gardening for many years. The pile of woodchips in my yard was a pretty funny sight. We eventually wheeled it into the spot it was going…..well…we covered every garden we had…
    be blessed…
    gardening is a blessing


    1. Walking Softly Upon the Earth (Post author)

      You are so right! It is such a blessing and you get to witness miracles every day! Your garden will be so amazing next year!! Best wishes!!!

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