Before the Hands-On Sustainable Gardening workshop, we needed to get materials together for our mulching demonstration. The cardboard and compost material hadn’t been too difficult to source, but finding a good-quality local resource for a plentiful supply of woodchip proved a little more difficult. That is, until Monet Tree Care agreed to help us.
A big thank you to Dan, arborist and tree surgeon at Monet Tree Care for all his help supplying woodchip for our permaculture plot. He’s been really easy to work with and very understanding to our needs – especially as we’ve been picky about not having any conifer-type trees in our woodchip mix!
How this will help us
We plan to experiment with wood chip mulch in our vegetable garden for the long-term, For now though, we’ll let it break down to compost as much as possible then use it to cover our mulch of composted manure and other organic material which will create a nutrient-rich foundation for our future community garden bedding areas.
Real World Survivor explains how it works:
The beauty of woodchips is that they contain not only wood (carbon) but also leaves (nitrogen), the “browns” and “greens” in compost. When you get a load, spread them over the soil you want to improve, at a minimum of 4 to 6 inches thick. Do not till them in. (Tilling can tie up nitrogen.) Let the thick layer sit there over the winter, insulating the soil and suppressing weed germination, while bacteria, fungi, nematodes and earthworms work their magic, creating nutrient-dense material.
PLANTING TIPS: Come spring, dig down and you should see rich, dark soil with a nice crumbly texture beneath the layer of chips. Don’t plant directly into the layer. Do so in the rich soil just below it. Leave the soil and plants exposed until their roots take hold, then replace the layer of chips up to the plants’ first row of leaves. During the growing season, the layer will protect crops and soil from summer’s heat, conserving moisture, and the plants will utilize the nutrients from the decomposed chips.