Hello! My name is Steve Heidinger, and I’m the founder of Wood Chip Gardener. Here’s a little information about my background and how Wood Chip Gardener came into being.
I was raised in McMinnville, Oregon, in a typical middle class home with two working parents and two children. Growing up we always has a summer garden, my father would wear out his tiller, and hoe to keep the weeds under control, but he always had a good garden. I will always remember going into the garden on a warm summer day and eating tomatoes and cucumber right there in the middle of the garden.
After graduating from college I moved to Fresno, California which is located in in the center of the San Joaquin valley in one the most productive farming areas in the world and started a family. Sounds like a great place to grow a garden right? Well in some ways it is. We have a long growing season, and mild winters where a number of crops like lettuce, cabbage, onion, and Kale that can be grown all winter. It’s the summer that are tough. The rain stops in May and does not start again until the second week in October, during the Big Fresno Fair. If there’s one constant in the world, it’s that it will rain during the fair. That’s 5 to 6 months with Zero rain. Great place for solar, but hard to garden. Without reservoirs and wells nothing would be grown here. My yard only allowed me to have a small 16′ x 20′ garden, that I watered every day, and a lot. Then there’s the heat. During the summer its hot, temps stay in the 90’s and 100’s for months which is very hard on most vegetable crops, not to mention the gardener. By July my weeding usual stopped, it was just to hot to be enjoyable. And as a consequence by the end of the season I had a weed patch not a garden. When it gets into the upper 90’s the tomatoes stop setting and that’s the crop you get for the year. Any tomatoes the set in the fall, never ripen, and if they do the quality is poor. Crops like potatoes and zucchini also give up in the hot temps.
In 2011 we moved to a more rural setting in Madera about 20 miles north of Fresno, to a 2 ½ acre property with very sandy soil, I was watering even more. At the end of that season I came across Paul’s video Back To Eden and immediately knew I wanted to try his methods here. I got a couple of truck loads of chips, an covered my garden 6” deep and have never looked back.
Wood chip mulch has improved my soil, lowered my water needs, substantially reduce the weeds, and are a joy to walk on.