Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Wood Chip & Hot Beds

"Do you want a this load of wood chip?"
A phone call on Sunday morning from my dad. My brother had a big job on last week and had produced a huge amount of chip that needed a home. I didn't realise quite the size of the load until he turned up with it. I should know that they never do anything by halves! 

A "small" load of wood chip

Some ruts left to be sorted out

Some serious heat in those chips at the moment - it did give me an idea...

Levelling a patch for a little experiment

Frames added
When dad dropped off the wood chip, and after I got over the ruts he left in the field, I was quite intrigued by the heat being given off from the stack. It got me thinking about Victorian hotbeds and growing veg out of season.
As a little experiment I've decided to level off a patch of chip about 3ft deep and add a couple of frames to it. I then put a few cans of water over it and some of last years comfrey tea to speed up the decomposition. I'll leave it a few days now and see if it holds it's heat. If it does I'll add some soil and compost to the frame and grow some salad in the one and potatoes in the other. I've got some old perspex I can to the top to keep the heat in at night and I can remove it in the mornings. 
This should make an interesting experiment. I've also got plenty of wood chip to make some paths and to use as a mulch around trees. I've watched the video on the "Back To Eden" system of gardening but I'd never have a supply of chips regularly enough to do that, although it might be interesting to try on a small scale in the garden somewhere.

32 comments:

  1. me.just.be.jealous. you lucky dog! do you think you can mail some to canada????

    you lucky dog! your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Yeah I'm pretty pleased. It should be some good stuff to use and any that I don't will rot down and I'll have compost I afew years time!

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    2. you didn't answer the mailing some of it to canada part??? bahahahahah! you lucky dog!

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  3. How fantastic to have a brother who brings useful gifts like that, it will be interesting to see how the hot bed gets on :-)

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    1. He can be useful sometimes but he's just buying a house so I'm sure I'll have to pay him back soon! Mind you it was dad who brought it over so he deserves a bit bit of credit.

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  4. Guess you have nothing to lose by trying!

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    1. Only time I guess but it should be interesting.

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  5. I am very interested in this as I do this on a lot smaller scale in my green house, with manure in baskets under the metal trugs with bricks for legs. think stone henge. like a bridge. if the temperature stick gets too hot I either rake it slightly or add another brick each side. this is the only way I can grow tumeric, galangal etc. I cant get the temperature other wise, I have been known to be out there at night with my head torch on as I have forgotten to check it all. and I also spray the soil and then add a cling film tent like a poly tunnel, if I know it is going to be extra cold.

    Once we are at the new house I will do a post about it. As we have people in and out of the house at the mo, with little kids most of my prized plants are at my friends.

    My father has had a hot house all my life, with orchids, so this is how I knew of it. it becomes part of your everyday routine to check the the temperature. going on holiday means you have to ask someone to look after it. I am very lucky I have a very good friend who takes my trugs to her house. she has a hot house/green house as she forces flowers and my seedlings if I am lucky!

    Sorry massive comment... You can tell I am into this type of thing.

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    1. I'd be really interested in how you do yours. What type of muck do you use when you do it? I got a book for Christmas on hot beds so that's what got me keen although it doesn't have examples of just using woodchip so this might not work.

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    2. currently cow. we had used horse but when I threw it in the compost after we ended up with weeds

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    3. Mix in about one third horse or cow manure, it'll get hot and stay hot for weeks. If it starts to taper off add urine, yours is fine, daily and it'll start to reheat. We've been doing it for years.

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    4. Sounds good - I just need to find some cow muck now! Every time you comment Ro I just think I want to meet you!

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  6. Envious of your wood chips! (Though envious of your space to put them too!).
    Regarding the seeds, could I have a few cucamelons and a few cherry bomb chillies please?
    I've also got some seeds of a Squash/pumpkin called 'Musquee de Hever de Provence', a lovely looking large squash that apparently 'tastes like chestnuts' when cooked, its doesn't say if it's sweet or horse chestnuts lol! You could have some of those too if you like.

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    1. Sounds good!
      Re. Having space was always my main aim. I didn't even look around the house to know I wanted this place!

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  7. Oh and a tip for your squash/pumpkin next year, is to wipe the squash over with water with )a bucket a teaspoon of bleach), and wipe dry. you do this once every 2 weeks and then weekly when the weather starts to heat up.

    I read this some where. could it be HFW? some one who reads here might know. I just remembered your post of mouldy squash from Sandies comment above

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    1. I think it was from a comment from sandie that you read this as she said about checking them in the shed. Once I get a bit more sorted here I'm going to build a proper shed and I should be able to keep them much better.

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  8. WOW...that's a lot of valuable resource and it's free!! You've got it all Kevin...with a united and supportive family around you, big big garden to enjoy, skill and talents to make use of....probably just a few of the long list you have....That's the way to go! Happy for you:)

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    1. Thanks Annie - you're too kind! My family are amazing and it's good to have them help me as well as using their knowledge and advice.

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  9. Do you want these wood chips!! Welllll heck yes I want those wood chips! I am with the first person who said you lucky dog!

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  10. A load like that was worth a few ruts I'd say..
    Briony
    x

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    1. Yeah, they'll level out when it's frosty - I'll go knock them over.

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  11. I reckon you make some good paths and mulching material Kev. You could also bag some of it up and sell or barter with it.

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    1. I won;t sell it, I think I need it all! Paths and mulch was what I was thinking although maybe I'll add a little bit to my compost as well.

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  12. Holy Moly..you hit the jackpot!
    Jane x

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  13. WOW! That's a fantastic haul! Well done. Around here, there are no free sources of wood chips. All the tree services grind it themselves and sell it rather than give it away. At $22 a bucket loader load, it would take a small fortune to get all we would need.

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    1. That would work out expensive. There's none of that here and tree surgeons are normally trying to find somewhere to dump it.

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  14. I use wood chips in a few places around here. They are also great for filling in ruts or problem areas where ruts form as the chips will kinda interlock.

    As for the eden method thing it depends on your area. It works great as long as you don't have long root or rhizome spreading weeds. Morning Glory and Johnson grass love wood chips and once they are growing under them.... well you can imagine. I have a petty steady supply of wood chips from the local powerline crews that dump em and I just started using them for walk paths and rut control.

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    1. For me this is only a temporary way to mulching and improving my soil. It's not closed loop enough to be a permanent thing but it should make things a bit easier over the year.
      I tend to think the eden method is more when you have dry land or lack of rainfall, something I don;t suffer with. also nettle and docks would still love it I think!

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  15. You may wish to review the efforts of Jean Pain for the use of the mulch to heat your greenhouse overwinter and to provide humus for your raised beds come spring.

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