Mulch arrived at our house last week.

For years I have been on the “receive free mulch” list at Baca’s Trees. The way it works is that when they have a load they start calling folks on the list. If you answer your phone and and say “yes” then they send a truck your way.

They called at 9am last Tuesday. I was standing in the middle of my kitchen in my ratty dishwater grey sweatpants negotiating with my 3 year old (who should work for the UN) about whether is was time for a “treat.”  I had to be somewhere at 10.

“Yes, I’ll take it.”

I changed into jeans, raided my envelope scribbled “Italy- don’t touch” for $10 to tip the driver. I got outside just as their rumbling white beast lumbered its back end up my driveway. My daughter’s eyes bulged as our driveway was transformed into a small mountain range — by millions of shards of unpolished driftwood.

We get a load of mulch about once a year. Usually in spring. We use it on the pathways in the garden, in our small orchard and to cover the drip irrigation (to retain water) that feeds the xeriscape plants and trees. It is the best thing I’ve ever done to my yard. As the mulch degrades it adds precious organic matter to our rocky, depleted soil. After 5 years of adding layers of mulch I can now dig down beneath the top several inches and harvest the beautiful, rich, dark soil beneath. I use this soil to add to the garden beds or fill a pot.

This year the priority for the mulch was the front yard. It had not had new mulch for over a year. It looked neglected. The contrast between the pathways and the actual planting beds had faded. The pathways were patchy. The logs around each bed were protruding like ribs on a starving dog. There were ominous pits where I was digging up soil.

I was in a minor tizzy about the decaying state of it all. No kidding, I had been laying in bed two nights before willing the nice lady at Baca’s to dial my number. I was in the midst of my spring garden futzing marathon– it’s my version of spring cleaning. Forget cleaning the closets, I tidy my pathways.

25 wheelbarrows full later the garden was tidy, the pathways were plump and my tizzy was banished.  And it cost me no more than a panini and cappuccino.

How could I not say “yes!”?


Baca’s Trees-899-6666 —ask to be on their free mulch list


Mining soil from the ratty pathways



Mulch being delivered



Garden BEFORE new load of mulch



Garden AFTER new load of mulch



Garden AFTER new load of mulch




Edible celebrates New Mexico's food culture, season by season. We believe that knowing where our food comes from is a powerful thing. With our high-quality, aesthetically pleasing and informative publication, we inspire readers to support and celebrate the growers, producers, chefs, beverage and food artisans, and other food professionals in our community.