Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Mulching With Wood Chip

I've managed to stay somewhere near on top of my veg garden this year with weeds, but the soft fruit garden is another matter. It's full of nettles and docks. And I mean full 
There is a fruit garden here somewhere! Honest!
 So this week I've made it my job to tackle it before it all goes to seed. After a few people recommending a video I watched one over an hour long on the "back of Eden" system of gardening, I thought I'd try a lesser version of it and mulch the soft fruit garden with wood chip from my tree surgeon of a brother.
Laying newspaper down first once I've pulled the big weeds
 I laid a layer of newspaper or cardboard down first to try to suppress the weeds and then a good 4 inches or so of wood chip. I always thought that wood chip was meant to remove the nitrogen from the soil but apparently that's more when you dig it in, also you're meant to counteract it by adding manure to the surface when it's needed. Anyway I doubt it could use up more goodness that all the weeds!
Mulching the blueberries

Blueberries mulched and netted

I can now see what is fruit bushes instead of trying to find them in the weeds.
I'm about a third of the way there with the fruit garden now. There is another couple of loads of wood chip at the farm that I'm going to bring up and lay down on the rest of it. I could also do with finding a source of cardboard as I'm thinking the same system would be good with my willow coppice to keep the grass down.
Anyone else been mulching with wood chip?

12 comments:

  1. Hi Kev. 'Lasagna' gardening is very popular in North America. I am currently making a Lasagna garden behind the poly-tunnel. I just flatten cardboard boxes, remove any sticky ducting tape (doesn't rot) and Cellotape and cover with straw, hay, lawn clippings, dung or wood chippings. Then you let the worms take it down. You don't even need to clear the weeds underneath. It would be great for an overgrown allotment. Suppose you could also use a landscape fabric like Mypex and leave a big hole around the fruit plants to cover with well rotted compost and manure.

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    1. It seems a good way of keeping the weeds down and this area is so overgrown it would take forever to get them out properly. The lansdcape fabric is too expensive for me at the moment and I hate it when it all starts to break down and you see it everywhere.

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  2. Cardboard box source - Supermarkets?
    I've yet to dig a big hole in the garden to compost my cat's wood pellet litter, (only the urine soaked stuff, the poo goes in the household rubbish),. It seems she uses the garden mostly in dry weather, so not using much at the moment.
    I plan to layer it with my own 'night soil' and chicken/horse manure and paper shreddings. It can take some time to rot down, but, I'm happy that it won't be going into landfill. Trying to cut down on household waste too.
    The hole will be covered by a dustbin lid, which I also need to get hold of one!
    I was fascinated by the 'lasagne' way of using it in a raised bed, makes perfect sense to me.
    By the way, isn't it a sign of good soil condition/fertility when you have nettles growing in your garden? I know I said I didn't have nettles in my garden,but, I have one now, just sprang up and I'm using it with dried seaweed in water in a 4 pint milk bottle to make a liquid feed. dilution rate 1part liquid to 10 parts water, use every watering of tomatoes and weekly for everything else. will be ready at the weekend.

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    Replies
    1. i got a load from the builders yard I use a lot in the end. All nice and thick so should be quite good for what I want it for. A composting loo is on my to do list -- I've got a friend with a small shed he's getting rid of soon and I think that will be ideal. I do need to build some normal compost bins as well to make the most of my weeds!

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  3. If your docks are like ours, they are edible when very young, as are their roots (plus the latter being considered medicinal by many).

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    1. Do they taste very good though? I've plenty so I think I could get fat on them.

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  4. Only downside is that wood chip is a lovely overwintering place for the sawfly pupae so you can have problems when they emerge in the spring and lay eggs which turn into caterpillars and strip the leaves :(

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    Replies
    1. Our fruit garden needs sorting, the raspberries are marching though as I speak.

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    2. Compost woman I might put some bantams in there over winter to pick out the bugs and to manure it a little bit - what do you think?
      Julee- my raspberries like to "gain" space every year. Sometimes I let them other times I dig them up - hopefully this method will slow them down a bit. A great plant to give away to friends though.

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    3. Kev - that is what I have suggested to other people who have asked about fruit cages and mulch and sawfly :) Great minds and all that :)

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  5. Looks good but what will you do when you want to add muck around the bushes.

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    Replies
    1. I was thinking about this as I did it. I'm guess I should be able to rake it back and add the manure before putting some more wood chip on top. Thats the plan anyway, it might not work out like that!

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