Author Topic: Back to Eden wood chip method + cedar/oak chips + Texas drought  (Read 1949 times)

Offline oktheniknow

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Back to Eden wood chip method + cedar/oak chips + Texas drought
« on: September 09, 2012, 11:29:57 PM »
Ok, so I just got around to watching the Back to Eden documentary.
Looks fantastic for that area of the country, but wonder if anyone in an area like Texas (with no rain in sight and summer highs that average 100-110 degrees) is using this method and has seen positive results?
The main thing I'm worried about is the wood chips from tree services around our area are primarily chips from cedar and oak trees, and the heat that the chips may put off that would cook the plants that are already stressed out in the summers from the high temps.
Have had to shade some of my raised beds this summer to shield the plants from the scorching sun (I'm sure loving the temps in the early mornings next week in the 60s), use ollas, wicking beds and hugelkultur also.
Up till now I've used wood chips sparingly around my beds and around the perimeter. If I can see that it would improve my alkaline clay soil and I wouldn't have to water as much I'm all in. 

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Back to Eden wood chip method + cedar/oak chips + Texas drought
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2012, 12:59:54 PM »
I'm not familiar with the Back To Eden method, or how it differs from just using a couple inches of wood chips to mulch with, but I can say wood chip mulch works very well for me in Central Texas.  Cedar chips are a little less effective from a "feed the soil" standpoint, as they take forever to break down, but they do a good job holding in water, and keeping soil temperatures down.  Just about any other hardwood chips work great, but I would recommend using chips that have composted a little.  If you have a source of fresh chips, like from a tree-trimming service, I'd let them "mellow" for a few months before using them, so they won't be too "green" (in the nitrogen sense) for tender plants.

We usually just buy composted hardwood mulch a truckload at a time.  It's only about $25 for a cubic yard at most of our local landscape supply places, if I recall correctly. 

If you have access to a lot of shredded leaves, I've found that putting a layer of shredded leaves down, and covering that with the wood mulch works extremely well.  The decomposing leaves seems to attract earthworms and other soil life much better than just wood chips alone.
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Offline oktheniknow

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Re: Back to Eden wood chip method + cedar/oak chips + Texas drought
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2012, 01:25:15 PM »
Thanks Skunkeye!
I do have some chips that got dumped here early this year so will use those. Good idea about using leaves underneath. May use mainly away from the house in my garden spots so as to not encourage roaches or termites. 
www.backtoedenfilm.com
Actually I first heard about the film from the Growing your greens guy on youtube -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEkFFRjDkvs&feature=plcp
He uses rock dust and a mushroom inoculate as well to make it break down faster. With our soil, not sure rock dust is necessarily needed.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Back to Eden wood chip method + cedar/oak chips + Texas drought
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2012, 04:29:12 PM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEkFFRjDkvs&feature=plcp
He uses rock dust and a mushroom inoculate as well to make it break down faster. With our soil, not sure rock dust is necessarily needed.

John Kohler of Growing Your Greens uses rock dust as a mineral additive for the bacteria, fungi and plants. From my understanding of what he has said, the rock dust doesn't speed up the breakdown of the wood mulch itself, but supercharges the life eating the wood mulch.


Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Back to Eden wood chip method + cedar/oak chips + Texas drought
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2012, 08:45:54 PM »
John Kohler of Growing Your Greens uses rock dust as a mineral additive for the bacteria, fungi and plants. From my understanding of what he has said, the rock dust doesn't speed up the breakdown of the wood mulch itself, but supercharges the life eating the wood mulch.

Have you thought of adding biochar or crushed charcoal?  The billions of micropores in charcoal act like mini condominiums for those microorganisms that break down the soil.  More microorganisms means more bioavailabile nutrients for plants.

~TG
 

Offline DanDMan

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Re: Back to Eden wood chip method + cedar/oak chips + Texas drought
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2012, 03:34:59 PM »
Im am in east texas and enjoying many 100+ dry days.  Our rain has been pretty good  this year.   I put down a 8 inch thick wood chip area in my garden and grew the biggest sunflowers I have ever grown without watering even once.  I think it takes at least 2 years before its really ready to grow anything, but the mulch effect has kept it moist and full of worms through the summer while the uncovered ground was cracking and dry. 

Offline erpryce

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Re: Back to Eden wood chip method + cedar/oak chips + Texas drought
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 12:19:28 PM »
Liked your post .. I am also in north Texas, with the same type question.

How is your hugelkulture working with Cedar Wood? I was searching is there was some mushrooms that could be user to help breakdown the cedar wood quicker?
I also have access to mulch from the City and wondered about how effected it would be if used in large quantities like in the video you mentioned above.

Please let me know your progress with experimenting in North Texas.


Offline OKCPrepper

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Re: Back to Eden wood chip method + cedar/oak chips + Texas drought
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 02:23:43 AM »
We have been dealing with similar drought condition in OK as you guys are in TX. I planted over 75 fruit and nut trees 2 years ago and lost them all to the drought. We didn't even attempt replanting last year.

I watched the Back to Eden video and was impressed enough with the concept that I ordered one of the WoodMax chippers. We are also picking up chipped wood from crews pruning trees in our local area. I have a lot of garden space to cover as well as multiple gorilla gardening spots around our property. At this point I am willing to try just about anything. I am very hopeful of using the wood chip concept. I believe this drought is a long term trend so we better learn to deal with it.

We use drip irrigation in our garden, I assume we want to lay out the irrigation lines where we can before laying down the wood chips. That way the water is going directly into the soil. If we laid the lines down on top of the wood, the wood would soak up a good percentage of the moisture.

We have been doing somewhat the same thing with shredded oak leaves as a ground cover. Our asparagus and Jerusalem Artichokes did well, but we are having difficulty getting our strawberries established. Lost the whole crop last year except for those planted in the woody beds.

As far as using Cedar wood, I don't use that in anything involving gardening. I will need to look into whether the chips would be safe or not. I am concerned about the chemicals present in the branches being present in the wood. Nothing grows under Cedar trees due to those chemicals. I am no farmer, not yet, just remembering something I read once.

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Back to Eden wood chip method + cedar/oak chips + Texas drought
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2013, 10:17:33 AM »
As far as using Cedar wood, I don't use that in anything involving gardening. I will need to look into whether the chips would be safe or not. I am concerned about the chemicals present in the branches being present in the wood. Nothing grows under Cedar trees due to those chemicals. I am no farmer, not yet, just remembering something I read once.

I had heard that, too, and did some research a couple years ago.  The general consensus seems to be that cedar being allelopathic (like black walnut, to name a famous example) is a myth.  The chemicals in cedar that make it rot and insect resistant don't generally inhibit or kill other plants.  That jibes with my experience, as I've used cedar chips as mulch before, and built planters out of it, and never had a problem with it killing anything.  I don't use it as mulch anymore, because it takes too long to break down and doesn't feed the soil as quickly as faster-rotting woods do.
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” - Patrick Henry