Mulching permaculture beds

My, we have been busy with a noisy machine this past week.

I have been chipping like mad. I need mulch! I need to cover my permaculture beds which have been improved over the winter. Enlarged and therefore exposed. Bare earth is not my friend.

A glimpse of mild weather (well, it’s not snowing) means I panic about weeds germinating and I have to get my beds properly tucked up.

Dragging endless branches off upper terraces on the mountain from our tree felling work, hauling them all the way down to the stables, bringing out the chipper, filling the sacks and sacks with glorious mulch, then dragging the loads all the way back to the top of the farm and smothering the raspberry bed.

And yes. It’s utterly illogical. And if I had a petrol chipper I could do more of the work in situ.

But it’s electric. And there is only one power point I can use in an outbuilding to work. It doesn’t function on an extension chord.

I could, at a pinch, work in the courtyard. It would certainly be closer to the forest. But having spent a month clearing it up from the builders’ mess, I can’t bring myself to litter the area in twigs and mulch. And dust.

And it is a messy, noisy job. Best done away from the house.

What I’d love to do is find a brilliant municipal pile of industrial chippings and loot theirs. But I haven’t ventured up to town in a while. So I keep busy doing my small loads.

I had my little helper. The Creature has been lured out of the potting shed to gambol and frolic and be an utter pest. She has enjoyed all that exposed soil in ways that makes me think: ‘okay, it’s manure, luckily it’s no-dig from now on.’

There is an impediment to my work down at the stables too this past week. I can only chip after Etienne leaves at 4pm.

That is a soon-to be addition to the stables in the form of a wood store. So it’s all go.

But mainly it’s all getting covered.

I haven’t finished the permaculture mulch work with just this layer of sticks. Next up will be the annual cutting back of my grasses, and those will be layered on top. But cutting back of the grasses is a huge job – I have to weed at the same time as it’s the only time of the whole gardening year when I climb into my enormous banks of grasses and unearth all sorts of nasty surprises. Mostly in the form of brambles. So I cut back, cut out and dig out at the same time.

For now the raspberries are covered. And next up will be a bit more chipping for the soft fruit cuttings. And then if I have a rush of blood, I’ll mulch the asparagus patch. But don’t hold your breath.