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Paths

 
gardener
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As with most here,  I have worn paths to the barn , garden,  and corrals.  Now, if course, they are pretty muddy.  What is a better way to surface these.  I have considered wood chips, gravel, etc.
 
pollinator
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Definitely woodchips if you have a reliable long term supply. We get a few loads a year dropped off by friendly tree surgeons. Does all our paths and garden beds.
 
gardener
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I usually use wood chips, as well, for the paths going from the house to the barn, greenhouse, poultry yard, etc. Since I live in a fairly dry area, I don't usually have to keep them covered all year, but when it does rain, it usually happens over several days, which makes the ground waterlogged & muddy.
Sometimes, if the mud is especially deep, I will lay a paper feed sack down, first, and then cover with the chips. This just helps keep them from getting pushed down under the surface, so I don't have to use more to re-cover the surface. If the weeds/grass gets too tall that I can't see the path well enough to see any copperheads napping, I will chop/pull them and add to the surface of the path.

In the gardens I tried alfalfa in the paths, which has worked well as long as it hasn't gotten too tall (then it gets your pant legs wet). If that happens, I just cut/tear the top of the plant off & toss in the garden beds where the mulch is getting thin. It seems to grow back pretty fast if it's been getting enough rain.
 
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If they will be roads,  use gravel. If you want to heal it then any kind of mulch (chips, hay, etc)

I had a real issue with woodchips. Held the moisture so well that trucks were spinning wheels trying to drive over it. It was a real testament to their effectiveness.
 
pollinator
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Another vote for woodchips if you have a free source.

My parents had a source of hazelnut shells for a while, they were fantastic path material. Unless you like to be barefoot on your paths.
 
John F Dean
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These are walking paths.  I have a supply of gravel and chips.  One concern I had was accidentally taking a mower across a gravel path. Yes, there is a low spot by the garden that will get the gravel.
 
pollinator
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Wood chips work well as well as sawdust.  Both are generally free.
 
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I once visited a small farm where the owners used pallets and other reclaimed wood to make raised paths over the mud. Looked nice and easy to traverse.
 
John F Dean
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I have found that pallets quickly grow a covering of slick fungi in my area.  We have had excessive rain and indirect lighting.
 
pollinator
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I am surprised you dont use gravel, large diameter at the bottom and finer at the top, for a long lasting job. Or bricks and even concrete
 
John F Dean
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We are talking about a total of 100 yards of path or more. Cost wise, concrete is out of the question.  I have a supply of gravel and
Woodchips. I am certainly willing to consider other options.
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Unofficial Companion Guide to the Rocket Oven DVD
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