Just before we left on our vacation, I emailed a guy I know through work to ask if he could recommend any local tree services that sell mulch for less than it costs by the bag. Turns out the tree services will give you tree chips by the truckload so they don't have to find a place to dump them. The chips can't be used for mulch the first year because the initial decomposition will bind up all the nitrogen in the soil and starve vegetables or annual plants, but they're fine for landscaping or filling in the spaces between raised beds. So Thursday morning I called one of the companies and was told I should get wood chips within the week. I went to the movies with my sister that afternoon and came home to this in my driveway:
That's not a trick angle. It's what my husband deemed "a metric fuck ton" of wood chips. He was not wrong. For scale, here is a photo including my sainted father, who came over Friday to help me move the mulch from the mountain to the garden:
Nico was thrilled to have Grandpa over and followed him around "helping" for a while before the heat chased him indoors.
Just a reminder, here's what the garden looked like before:
And here's the after:
I'm so very pleased with it and feeling hopeful that our unending battle with weeds will be close to winnable this year. We plan to add another raised bed in the big space to the left of the center bed, and maybe remove the ginormous tansy plants on the right side and connect the right side and rear beds into one huge L-shaped bed.
A few more beauty shots:
Of course, now I'm left with the dilemma of what to do with the remaining half of Mulch Mountain, still sitting in my driveway. A friend is going to take some of it for his yard and I guess after that I'll just have to put up a big "free wood chips" sign and hope for the best. Worth it, I think!