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Quick Question - Help a New Gardener  RSS feed

 
Adrienne Dor
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Hi! Starting my first wood chip garden. This is what I have on hand. What order should I do the layers and what ratio? Thanks for your advice! I am totally new to gardening.

Cypress Wood Chips
Chopped Up Corn Cobs (Limited Supply)
Composted Cow Manure (Large Supply)
Ash
Praire Grass
 
Jack Edmondson
Posts: 240
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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Welcome.

I am sure the recipe can be tweaked unlessly, but I don't think you are going to find a 'magic formula' or ratio. I assume you want to get started 'right now'; and not wait for things to compost down further. Ideally, one would mix all together except the wood chips and let them break down more thoroughly. Then apply and top coat with wood chips. If you want to go all in with what you have there is nothing wrong with that. Mix the cobs and grass, along with the ash and let it compost in place. The only watch out would be that cow manure, unless composted well (6 months?) may still be a little 'hot' for plants. Too much ash can be bad for plants. Mix well in with the manure before planing. Don't put the wood chips in the mulch. It needs to be a top sheet or it will bind up all the nitrogen and the plants don't get fed. But they will keep weeds down and the soil moist.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau, Adrienne,

As Dale mentioned, Cypress is very slow to rot and it is allopathic, neither are good things for gardens.

A better use of the Cypress chips would be pathways, where you aren't desiring things to grow.
Cypress could be soaked in ash water, then composted with some fresh cow manure, this would cause it to break down faster and it would alleviate the allopathic tendency of the wood.
If you decided to go that route, it will take the cypress about one year to become good compost.

As for the other ingredients you have, all are good.
Ashes are best used in small amounts. most will be caustic (basic) and so raise the pH of soil when used in large quantities.

If you are wanting to use these for soil amendments, the prairie grass would be best if composted (unless you don't mind sewing the seeds of the grass into places you want to grow garden items).

I would look into doing a lasagna type of mulch system. You could spread your amendments (excepting out the cypress chips) in the layers, then plant through them for good results this year.
 
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