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I'm just a girl who can't say no ... to free wood chips  RSS feed

 
Susan Taylor Brown
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Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
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I know I am not the only one who feels this way. I feel rich, so very rich. Why? Because I got multiple loads of free wood chips this week. I actually had to turn down a 3rd load yesterday because I had no room for them until we get these spread.

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Free chips
 
Dana Jones
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We got three loads a couple of weeks ago. Wealth is not always money! LOL!
 
Marco Banks
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I got an absolutely massive load of chips in early June, and swore that I wouldn't need any more till late fall, but now as the first wave of summer veggies have been harvested and there is open space again in parts of the garden, I would love another 10 yards or so of chips.  If I see a truck (or hear the whine of a wood chipper somewhere in the vicinity), I'll wave them down and ask for them.

You always think, "There is no way I'll be able to use all these chips, and then when the pile has been moved and spread out, you think, "I wish I had a few more."
 
Susan Taylor Brown
Posts: 147
Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
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We are so far away from believing for a moment that we have enough. There's bare dirt all over the place. Dead dirt. Which means two things - no growies and mud when the big white dog goes out in the rain. LOL Hopefully we have help tomorrow spreading out a lot of them. I need my helpers to do some digging for me first, then spreading. I would like to work up to 6 inches thick everywhere but that will take some time.

The joy of wood chips counters the sadness in dealing with crumbling creosote laden railroad ties that we are pulling up right now.
 
Linda Secker
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Location: Lancaster, UK
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Oh YES - and they smell so good too a friend drops 3 or 4 cubic metres off at my allotment site every now and again and I always get stupid excited!!
 
Marco Banks
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Susan Taylor Brown wrote:

The joy of wood chips counters the sadness in dealing with crumbling creosote laden railroad ties that we are pulling up right now.


The wood chips will help remediate any chemicals that have leached from those ties over the years.  Wood chips are the perfect medium to build fungal networks, and fungi bind and render inert all manor of harmful stuff.  I don't know the specifics of creosote leaching (or any other chemical common to railroad ties) but paul stamets has done (and continues to do) all sorts of research on mushroom remediation of brown-fields, hydrocarbons, and other toxic stuff found in soils.  You may want to look into his various products or just his research.  If you can innoculate the wood chips over the place where the ties used to sit, it might give you peace of mind knowing that the fungal community is busy cleaning things up for you and making your soil healthy.
 
Susan Taylor Brown
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Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
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Linda, yes, I love the smell of the wood chips so much! A couple of loads ago he brought me camphor chips. The yard and the dog smelled great! This load has a lot of bay in it and it smells wonderful.

Marco, I am coming to terms with the fact that I can't have (and probably don't want) a pristine start. There will always be something to deal with. My work crew got all the rotted ties out of the ground and moved to the driveway for next week's special handling disposal. We have tried to move most of the crumbling bits to one spot where I can work on a super hot compost pile to help bind the toxins to other stuff and render them inert.

 
Marco Banks
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Susan Taylor Brown wrote: I am coming to terms with the fact that I can't have (and probably don't want) a pristine start.


Yup.  It is what it is.  You play the cards you're dealt and make it work.

I would imagine that in 10 years, you won't even remember where those railroad ties were.  I had a few here in my yard when I first moved in 16 years ago, but I pulled them out so long ago, I don't even remember where they were, exactly.  They were rotting and falling apart, and most of them came up easily in chunks.  

When we initially moved in, I planted 3 small queen palms in that space where they ties were.  Within 2 years, the trees were big and beautiful.  After 10 years, I could hardly trim the dead branches off --- my 20' extension ladder was fully extended and I was standing as high as I could climb while I reached up as far as I could with my Sawzall and tried to cut the dead branches and seed pods off.  So I decided to take them down.  I cut those 3 massive palm trees down, used the wood for terracing on a hillside, and planted fruit trees in that space.  Then I thought, "Where were those railroad ties that I dug-up so many years ago?"  I couldn't find any evidence of them at all.

Palm trees have a massive root system (small pencil sized roots that web out all over --- good for holding the trees in place when they grow in sand on a beach).  In that web of roots, a fungal network had clearly established itself, and after I cut those palms down, we got a flush of mushrooms every spring.  So my thinking is that between the fungal growth that permeates that entire area, the years (and dozens of loads) of wood chips, and time --- any chemicals that once may of leached from those ties will have long since been rendered inert.  I eat the apricots, cherimoya and plums that grow in that space without a worry in the world.

Nature has a way of healing itself.  Even horribly polluted places like Chernobyl and Fukushima are returning to health (as they are going wild).  Best of luck with your food forest and permie yard.
 
Susan Taylor Brown
Posts: 147
Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
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Thank you, Marco. Your encouragement and support really helps me stay on course and optimistic. I appreciate it.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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