We WILL rebuild…. the soil

Talking with the contractor…. Photo credits Auntie Pat

If the last month has taught us anything, its that we need to build up our soil and protect it. When the temperatures got up to 45 degrees Celsius here, at the end of June, there was no way I could keep our plants watered. We would water by drip tape at night and in the middle of the day the plants were VERy frumpy… Although we are fortunate to have a great well and were able to water this much, many are not and who knows for how long you will have a great well.

Its just that the exposed ground dries so very quickly in high heat, and the water is GONE

Photo credit Auntie Pat

SO when the going gets tough the tough gets growing… or something like that. πŸ˜€

notice how grim this garden looks….

So we have started putting down wood chips… in a BIG way. Years ago we watched the video…..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rPPUmStKQ4 BACK TO EDEN GARDENING DOCUMENTARY FILM.

The concept of Back to Eden gardening is that you take wood chips from the companies that trim trees (hydro etc) and layer it with compost, manure, and it breaks down into a lovely soil that retains moisture and needs far less watering. Some say they never need to water, but usually you have to water some. The man who developed this form of gardening went out to the forest near where he lived and thought……everything grows in the forest without additional watering, how can I recreate it. When I saw the film, I had been going out into the forest behind OUR property and gathering dirt, because it seemed so healthy. But his method seemed to work better, and I could not bring the whole forest floor home. πŸ˜€

We were “gifted” with about 8 dump truck loads of wood chips and so we arranged them in this 90×40 foot space, approx 2-3 feet deep. Over the years they settled and created this lush garden (this picture is very early in the year) This is mostly just broken down wood chips.

Our garden from our previous house in Scotch Creek. This would have been our 3rd year of Back To Eden (BTE) garden. After a few years, you no longer even see the wood chips, they just compost.

Fast forward to now….

The new garden I am working on up on the second tier of our property, I have layered top soil, then wood chips and then manure. As a test I planted some beans up there in mid May. The area has NO water, and it has rained twice. The temperatures have gotten higher than ever seen in Canada, and still the beans grew. I only planted a few. This garden is for next years garlic.

This is the new row on the upper tier. It will be 200 feet long and about 8 feet wide. It doesn’t look like it in the picture but it IS wider than it looks.

I should add that I also planted some potatoes in wood chip piles with NO watering and the plants are coming along well now.

So we have been gradually adding wood chips to all parts of the garden we can get at with the tractor.

I have tried to take pictures as we have been doing this…over the past month or so, to show our progress.

There are concerns with wood chips that the nitrogen will be held up as the wood chips break down, causing anything planted to possibly suffer from low nitrogen. So we are starting to add nitrogen on top of the wood chips to allow for that. These little morsels are alfalfa cookies…. (actually alfalfa pellets). I am sure they ARE cookies for horses. They suggest you add lawn clippings on top of the wood chips, but we do not have lawn, so are adding alfalfa. We HOPE to get more manure later in the summer.

Not sure if it shows in these two pictures, but they are before and after, and how much more lush the garden looks with the wood chips. Of course the smoke kind of takes away from that.

Here are our tomato plants at the front, I had to create a tunnel through them to find the ripe tomatoes yesterday.

Now THIS is my 3 sisters North American native garden. It is a method of growing 3 vegetables utilizing the advantages of each to help the others. Corn, Squash and climbing beans. Corn takes a lot from the soil (a heavy feeder) but grows tall, and the beans use the corn to climb up, but the beans also provide nutrients to the soil for the corn and the squash. The squash provides shade for the roots of the corn and beans, and also keeps weeds down. I do not think I planted this properly because the beans did not get going early enough to start climbing and have been completely shaded by the very successful growth of the other 2 crops. I will know what to do differently next year. πŸ€”. This year lots of corn and crookneck squash.

a week ago…..
The smoke is just getting worse….

It DOES look a bit like a plane here. I wanted to show the solar panels. We do NOT have a LOT Of them, but they were helpful during the VERY hot spell, (the heat dome the last week in June) we had our air conditioning heat pump on, and our energy consumption was near to zero, with the help of the solar panels. In the news BC hydro said that they hit their peak of usage that week, the highest amount they have ever recorded. …..BUT not from us πŸ˜€. THAT includes charging our electric car.

They say when you are dealt lemons, make lemonade…. WELL if we are going to have scorching heat with climate change, it makes sense to at least try to take advantage of it.πŸ€”

So THIS is where we live. If you look at the centre of the map, there is a blue area (lake) and KAMLOOPS to the left and down. Salmon Arm to the right and down from where we live. We have no fires within 25 KM of where we live. HOWEVER…. we are totally surrounded by large fires. The statement today on the weather station was that our air currently is the worst on the planet.

I guess what we are experiencing now is climate change and the poorer nations have been experiencing this for a long time with draughts, floods etc.. I guess this year is a chance for the richer nations to experience climate change. I hope that one of these days, something will happen to convince people that our addiction to fossil fuels is killing our planet.

So that is what we are upto

thanks for reading, much love

Janet, Ken and Tucker.

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