Generally, when people are talking about wood chips for gardening, they are talking about ramial wood chips. I believe that is by far the best way to go. This year I wanted to experiment with actual chipped wood, with no greens to speak of. The experiment was simple. I opened a row in some wood chips that showed very little evidence that they were breaking down yet at all. I dropped in a seed potato and raked the chips over it. After the plants were up a foot or so, I raked more chips around them. That's it. I never watered, weeded, or even really bothered to look at them. A few days ago, i noticed the first row of plants were turning brown, so yesterday, i dug up the first plant. The potatoes were delicious.
Very nice! I, too planted potatoes in woodchips this year. I really need to get out and check them as I think they are about ready for harvest. I am converting all of my garden beds to woodchip beds and I have had good luck. Hopefully in a couple of days I can share potato results with you.
I have a generous source of sawdust and shavings and since our clay soil is not ideal for root crops, I put in some goat manure and mixed it up in a grain sack to see if they'll grow in there. I'm trying carrots the same way and they seem to be doing well so far!
I have not done them in straight wood hip, but did do straw this year - Ruth Stout method. Super simple and great results. The spuds came out so clean! When I lifted them the straw mulch was really moist, the soil beneath was bone dry. A really interesting observation!
I think given time and more layers the mulch/soil divide will break down.
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