Why should YOU and everyone you know be using organic ground cover for your organic urban gardens?? This is where you save:
- THE PLANET!!
What if I told you that by simply covering the ground on your little urban garden, the food would basically grow itself?
This would be amazing news wouldn’t it? Well, it’s true!!!! This one simple thing is one of the most important things for urban gardeners to know because most of us are too busy working, raising families, doing yoga and living life to have the time for an urban garden. BUT, let me let you in on a secret.
YOU CAN DO BOTH!!!!!!
So What is Organic Ground Cover, and What Exactly are the Benefits??
“The ground is a living organism. As all living organisms, God has designed and made it so it is always covered with something. It’s all about the covering!”
– Paul Gautschi
Picture the forest floor. Moist, soft, full of life. Fallen trees, needles, leaves, branches. All of this has a purpose and that is to sustain life. Do you go out and water the forest? Do you dump chemical fertilizers on its trees and plants? Weed? NO!! But alas, the forest is thriving and will continue to do so *ALL.BY.ITSELF*
The forest floor is basically covered in different sized wood chips. The organic ground cover of needles, leaves, sticks, twigs etc, are:
- Breaking down into beautiful, rich, fertilized soil. (Organic Fertilizer)
- Protecting the trees and plants from the elements. (Eliminating Soil Compaction and Depletion)
- Allowing oxygen to fill the soil where micro-organisms can thrive.
- Keeping the soil at a perfect pH for growth.
- Regulating water by holding it in the soil, absorbing some if it’s too moist. Every time it rains, it applies a nourishing compost tea.
- Keeping the plants healthy which helps protect them from insects.
This is what you need to mimic!
So How Do I Get Organic Ground Cover?
- Call local tree service companies. They need somewhere to dump all the chips! Or better yet, chip your own if you have a chipper.
- Leaves and grass clippings work great.
- Urban gardeners who are using only a few potted varieties can borrow a couple scoops of needles from the forest floor.
*Make sure you don’t use Cedar Chips. They are your gardens worst nightmare!
How to Get Started!
If you are starting from scratch, you will want to not prep your soil at all; just cover it! Start in the fall when nature is making its own ground cover and:
- Lay down a few layers thick of newspapers over the garden area.
- Add 3-4 inches of organic compost or manure
- Finally, add 2-4 inches of different sized wood chips (keep them fairly small) and remember NO CEDAR!
*Yes you can use this method for square foot gardening, container gardening and vertical gardening!
So just let this sit until spring when you will simply push the cover out of the way and plant your seeds in the soil below. Not in the chips themselves.
Your soil will get richer and richer as the years pass. At first you will need to apply a layer of mulch every fall, but eventually it will be so rich, you will only need to do this every couple years.
– If you like, you can add some aged chicken manure from your backyard chickens, to nourish your new growth.
– Check to make sure in the hot days of summer that the soil is getting enough water. When not watering from the top (rain), with enough cover, the plants pull water up from the earth, but keep an eye on it to make sure 🙂 Vegetable gardening has NEVER been easier!!
– Now that you are an organic ground cover pro, try your hand at a square foot garden!
Here is a little preview of “Back to Eden Gardening”. It is a beautiful film on this very subject of ground cover. Although there is a strong religious undertone, Paul Gautschi gets this amazing solution out to the world one gardener at a time. Check it out and if you want the whole video, you can watch it for free at the link below the video.
Watch the full film on organic ground cover here.