Last week I posted a video where I was throwing mulch around the Grocery Row Gardens.
I titled it “WHY ARE YOU USING WOOD CHIPS??? HAVE YOU JOINED THE CULT???”
I know it sounds crazy to call a gardening method a “cult,” and I did use the title tongue-in-cheek; however, the no-till people sure get close to being cultish. Rather like vegans, come to think of it.
During the premiere, EcoCentric Homestead commented:
“Using woodchips is not a cult. Most humans are followers. They need someone to give them direction. When a charismatic person comes along s/he will always get a following.”
To which I responded:
“It’s a joke, EcoCentric Homestead. When I have bare ground, the mulchers go after me.”
People freak out about tilling now, because deep mulch and no-till are the current flavor du jour.
This too will pass.
EcoCentric Homestead further posted:
“I realized yours was a joke. Mine wasn’t. It’s illogical, IMO, for someone to go looking for the same resources their favorite YouTuber has instead of using the resources they have.”
This is a good point. You should use what you have available to you. Up North, you might use alfalfa hay. In the South, peanut hay might be better. Down here gardeners use “gin trash” on their gardens, which is the leftovers after the cotton harvest. Importing gin trash to Canada would make no sense. There you would use something else.
If you find something on YouTube, it may or may not work for you. Try, experiment, seek knowledge and GO AND DO! Does tilling work for you? Raised beds? Deep mulch? Roll with it. But know this: what works for Charles Dowding may not work for David The Good, and what works for David The Good may not work for Paul Wheaton. We have different talents, different experiences, different climates, different crops, different time constraints, different resources, etc.
It makes sense to get back to the basics now and again and look at our main focus.
Is your main focus growing food? Then concentrate on growing the most you can.
Do you have a secondary goal of growing nutrient dense food? I do, and I add minerals accordingly.
Are you also attempting to build up the soil on your homestead to leave a generational legacy? Then plan for that.
I am not, as I am just renting. Making amazing, awesome, incredible soil through massive amounts of labor, biochar, chop-and-drop, etc., isn’t really in the cards for me. I’m making decent soil through what I’m doing, but my primary goal is to reap a harvest. The owners of this land don’t care much about the soil. Before we were here it was patchy grass and weeds with lots of scrub oaks and pine. It will return to that after we leave. In the interim, we are growing what we can and making the soil better, but planting a great abundant food forest and doing lots of clearing and burning and soil improvements and adding clay and hugelkultur, etc., just doesn’t make sense.
I am not going to make a massive no-till garden, either. Single row gardens work great for us. Our smaller no-till Grocery Row Gardens also work great. Throwing down a thousand tons of wood chips just isn’t in the cards.
But there is a tendency to cultishness in the human spirit. We do want to follow something.
So, in conclusion, buy my book on Grocery Row Gardening and follow that.