Adventures with woodchip
We love woodchip! 2016 has seen a few experiments on the farm with woodchip- our new mulching material thanks to a local tree surgeon.
You know I love a good mulch right.
Lots of benefits of mulch- the ones I’m interested in are keeping down weeds and keeping in moisture. We’ve tried mulching the polytunnel paths this year with cardboard or old potato bags laid down first, then covered with woodchips that are quite fresh, i.e. they will take longer to break down and hopefully suppress those weeds for longer.
We were abit worried about locking up nitrogen affecting the polytunnel crops (we have tomatoes, cucumbers and french beans) as the high carbon woodchip breaks down – but we reckon were only on the paths, so we’re going for it! No adverse affects so far I don’t think. Now we’re in July some weeds have grown through the cardboard and woodchip mulch (nettles and grasses are poking through) but its a lot better than what it would be!
We’ve not just been mulching the covered cropping! You cant stop us when were on a roll with the ‘chip. We took the more broken down woodchip out to the field and mulched the new plantings of globe artichokes. To be mulched with broken down woodchip as soon as we can are the asparagus and rhubarb plants we planted out this year also. I really want to look after these perennial crops and make sure they get a good head start against our weeds. Out in the field there is plenty of moisture under the mulch too which must of helped in this recent heatwave!
Also I’m looking forward to a winter of experimenting with creating a good seedling compost from the woodchip. I have found a good starting point here from some old Soil Association’s Field Lab workshops. And wouldn’t it be great if we could grow some of these babys? Watch this space, 2016 is the year of woodchip #woodchip2016