rain barrels and wood chips and raised beds

 weekend report 12/52

on Saturday I drove an hour and a half to take a rain barrel making class, connect with like-minded individuals and get a free rain barrel. it was sponsored the Watershed Program of the Butte Environmental Council, an educating and advocating  group for land, air, and water in Northern California. The weather was beautiful, the people were great and I developed a few new ideas on how and where to use rain barrels. and I brought home my first rain barrel.

east of the house is a sunny, open area that will become the annual crop site. it’s lumpy and grassy and puddles in the rainy season. the gophers tunnel a lot and construct mounds all summer long. the plan is to cover the area with wood chips and then install raised beds with gopher wire on top of the wood chips. there are a few concepts going on here. first, the traditional garden beds will provide a yield while the food forest is being developed and I’ll be able to propagate and collect seeds from plants that work well in  this ecosystem to use in that food forest. second, the wood chips/raised bed is a modified hugleculture. the chips under the boxes hold water for the plants in the raised beds. by the time the chip decompose the soil should be improved enough to hold its own water. the raised beds keep spring and winter crops out of the puddles. after the boxes are installed the paths will be dug out to create modified swells and back filling with more wood chips. as the water is slowed higher on the property this area should become more traverse-able in winter.

that being said, I headed out to the free chip dump zone at the edge of town and brought back 28 cubic yards of chips. i was so excited to see this project move forward i forgot to put down the cardboard. this happens when i work by myself. i get caught in the moment and forget my own plan. tis the life of the weekend worrier.

with the first haul of wood chips I started the raised boxes; collecting the wood from my stash and cutting it to size for the first box. next is to assemble.

when my dad came over on Sunday afternoon we worked the chipper; chipping the woody parts of the green waste I’ve been getting and adding it to my haul. we’ve come to the conclusion that despite the huge pile of woody parts, there will not be enough chips to fill the area. i see many trips for wood chips in my future.



I am a Permaculturest with an eye on a sustainable future. I feel it's time to take control of our personal environment and make it work for us and the planet. I am a Homesteader in an urban environment. Keeping it real on a budget and still enjoying all that life has to offer. I am an up-cycler: a creative, resourceful problem solver. I am a gardener and a Farmer. I am a resource, full of information for living a more sustainable lifestyle. I also build, paint, cook and sew.

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Posted in annual crops, Climate, Food Forest, Hugleculture, water harvesting

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