Here’s why wood chips are such an awesome asset to your garden – and how to use them correctly for maximum benefit.
There has been much debate about the merits of using wood chips in the garden. Those who subscribe to the “Back To Eden” garden method swear by them, while others have reported less than stellar results.
However, based on the research I have done so far, and my own experience, I would hazard a guess that those who have had a negative experience have been using the chips incorrectly.
Wood chips should be used as a mulch, not as a soil amendment. When mixed into the soil, wood chips can pull nitrogen from the soil as they decompose, reducing the available nutrients for your plants. However, when placed on top of the soil, wood chip mulch provides a number of valuable benefits, as mentioned in the video below. Not only can they add nutrients back to the soil once they have broken down, wood chips also help to moderate soil temperature, reduce weeds, and conserve soil moisture. They also help protect the soil from erosion, and provide a beneficial cover for earthworms and other soil creatures.
We added wood chips to our garden for the first time this summer, and thus far, we have experienced many benefits (you can read more about our garden experiment here). In fact, the only “drawback” I can report so far is that adding several inches of them to our garden paths has increased the distance that I have to bend to work in the garden beds, which are no longer quite as “raised” in relation to the garden pathways. However, all things considered, it’s quite an acceptable tradeoff for me, especially when I think about all of the work it has saved me over the past several months!
The short video below explains how to use wood chips correctly, as well as how to find them in your area, and dispells some of the myths and concerns about using wood chips in your garden.