Chop Wood Carry Water Plant Seeds is a blog about Self-Sufficient Homesteading. How can we live by creating a sustainable bio-diverse world, instead of by consuming and destroying the only one we have? What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wood Chip Gardening at The Willow Farm

I have talked for so long about starting with "Wood Chip Gardening" one day and that day is finally here :) I ordered 30 cubic meters of wood chips and it arrived yesterday.
Feeling like a little boy inside a sand box :) 
Note the variety of materials!
It is important to mention that there are wood chips and then there are THE wood chips :) For kitchen gardening purpose you want the wood chips composed of all parts of the trees and bushes like leaves, needles, hard wood and bark from various bushes and trees and not from only one kind. 
Like this you get a good balance between the Nitrogen and Carbon needed to aid the decomposition of the wood chips into a lovely black compost soil :)
This is the decomposed wood chip compost :) Black Gold! Gorgeous!
The pile of wood chips is teaming with all sorts of creatures but these were the largest ones. Im not sure what they are but I welcome them to our farm anyway.
Im using the straw bales to define the garden area and they will act as a weed barrier too.
Im applying 5-6 cm tick layer of wood chips on top of the soil. Its important for the layer not to bee too thin otherwise weeds will easily penetrate through ti and will defeat the purpose of covering.
Clean wood chips are not free in Denmark. This particular kind, which is considered waste and untidy looking was for "free" but I had to pay the freight. 

By covering the soil with wood chips I don't need to:
- Plow - no need for tilling since weeds can't grow well when covered
- Harrow - the soil becomes very loose thanks to all the earth worms under the wood chips
- Water - wood chips are great at retaining water/moisture. Naked soil dries out quickly
- Fertilize - the wood chips decompose which turns into fine black compost. I will add some chicken manure because we keep chicks and probably Nettle water to top up the fertility.
- spray Herbicides - weeds can't easily penetrate through wood chips and hence no need to spray herbicides.
... and the soil can't compact when walking or even driving over it because the wood chips.

So I dont need:
- Tractor/ or Rototiller
- Plow
- Harrow
- pesticide spraying equipment
- irrigation system and wasting water
- chemical fertilizers
- petrol and oil for the tractor/rototiller

It seems to me that wood chip gardening saves lots of money and water, it is environmental friendly and creates a superb quality soil which can support the soil food web (all the microorganisms which create healthy soil).

For those of you interested in wood chip gardening please see the Back To Eden documentary for free HERE

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