I think my neighbours thought I was crazy when I had a pallet of firewood delivered, especially since I have no wood-burning fireplaces!
I was driving past the hardware store one day and noticed a sign for pallets of firewood $50/cubic yard with delivery included. From my research I knew that cubic yards of soil cost two to three times that amount! The key here was that delivery, usually an extra cost, was included!
My forty four feet of planters would need to be filled and I didn’t think an initial layer of hardwood would hurt at all. In fact it seemed like a good idea, and one that had been used before!
I didn’t invent this idea: I just made it my own. My boss speaks of hugelkultur, an ancient German gardening process where you mound up all kinds of organic materials so your plants have so much nutrition and moisture to thrive on that they don’t need water or fertilizer for years. Due to the fact that I didn’t dig a trench first or want an uncontrolled mound of compost along the fence, I only roughly borrowed this idea and put it within the framework of my eight foot long planters.
First came newsprint and cardboard to stop the weeds and grass from spreading upwards. Then throughout the planters I distributed an equally thick layer of firewood. This was followed by leaves, grass clippings and smaller pieces of wood collected as part of spring garden cleaning.
Finally I had a cubic yard of compost delivered. Upon moving this and the truckload of soil my neighbours shared with me, my kidney stones and shingles set in, and so I’ve decided that until next year, my planters will be just fine for planting in. More soil can be added next spring to top them up, before they’re planted again. In comparison that task will be small!
Now let let me show you what’s really growing in them…