I will add 5 in. of well rotted manure.
Then top it off with 5 in. of wood chips and let it sit 2 years.
Then I will start planting. The rows will be 4 feet apart giving me 25 rows.
I will start by planting Russian comfrey every 8 feet giving me 12 x 50 foot rows This comfrey will remain permanently to use as fertilizer
to cover the ground between each row. It can be cut down easily every 3 weeks or so.
I will then proceed to plant vegetables in the remaining 13 rows.
I presume I will have to reapply wood chips every 2 or 3 years but the comfrey will stay forever.
I may add crab meal every year too since there is a plant that sells it at a very low cost
(10 dollars for a 40 lb bag) That way I will get all the trace minerals.
Feel free to make any comments. Everything I've learn't is from other people.
This is a site that pretty well explains why. - http://puyallup.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/wood-chips.pdf
I started using wood chips last year as a test run and was impressed and sold on the idea. I also saw the back
to eden video and realize that it really works.
I can't till the wood chips in because I don't have a tiller. But it is recommended to just leave them on top. Wood chips
insulate better that way and there is no weeds either.
Ain't that the truth! I have a big heap of wood chips that the local arborist dropped off at my place and I meant to get around to smothering a large patch of hawkweed with but I didn't get to that project. The hawkweed didn't wait for me, and promptly seeded into the pile of chips.
If you wait, nature will plant it for you.
You are ready to go at this point; no need at all to wait two years. Counter productive to wait, as in the first quote in this post.
old garden site with very rich soil. Hasn't been used for 10 years.
I will add 5 in. of well rotted manure.
Then top it off with 5 in. of wood chips
#One suggestion, particularly if you live in a drier place or have potential low water issues at times, is to water the layers as you lay them down.
#Another suggestion would be to mow the garden site right down to soil level, knocking the existing plant structure back as much as possible, and water it to encourage decomposition, before adding your manure and chips.
I wouldn't do this. The manure is much more effective on the soil surface. Mixing it would have the wood chips draw all the nutrients out of the manure to compost it. Depends what you want; it would create soil, but it would reduce your mulch's weed suppression potential.
I'd mix the wood chips and manure
If it's well rotted this shouldn't matter at all, and even if it isn't, so long as the manure is pushed aside and not touching your plant stems, it should not be a problem at all.
You might try just a little manure on some of it so you can get to growing something fairly soon.
Yes, a bag of field peas or something like that is very inexpensive and can provide a massive blast of goodness to your system.
Plant something, a bag of beans or something. Not for a food harvest, but for more biomass and soil enrichment. And it's fun!
Black eyed peas or sweet potatoes, or sunflowers maybe?
Seriously, you have the system in place, just push the chips aside to expose the well rotted manure, if the manure is in good 'soil condition' then plant in it or if it isn't quite there yet then dig further to the soil surface, and either plant legumes or other cover crop plants or pollinator lovers (like a brassica that you let go to flower/seed), or just get busy with crop plants.
I would build and establish your path/bed system, perhaps adding the path material to the beds, before laying out the manure and wood chips. Add all the manure to the beds and deeper wood chips on the paths to suppress weeds and keep the paths as moisture resources for your beds. If you make an 'A frame' level then you can quickly lay out contours before you build your beds, and this will enable all of your beds to be on the contour, conserving water in your wood chipped paths, which will water your downslope beds. Even if you don't dig out your paths, and go with complete no till, if you build your beds on the contour you will eventually be building them up, and packing your paths down, and they will do the same thing.
My mother insists they're good to go immediately.
I say don't wait to plant.
I also think you can plant in the sheet mulch
hmmmm seems to be a bit of a consensus here!
squash or melons, or other big-seeded things. No need to wait!
Yes! This is what I would do, if the 10 year sod on the old garden is tenacious.
Just dig a little hole in the chips and manure, fill with a shovelful of dirt, and plant in that.
Whatever you are planning to do in two years, if you have the time to do it now, do it now. You won't regret it.
SOMETHING THAT SOLD ME ON WOOD CHIPS.
Wood Chips in Vegetable Production
A major problem in vegetable production is maintaining high soil quality in the face of
typical practices that work against it. Vegetable growing involves intensive tillage,
cultivation, exposure of almost
bare soil to the sun and rain for long periods, and heavy
traffic from people and equipment. All of these tend to destroy soil organic matter and
soil structure while increasing soil compaction. This reduces yield over the long run
because it creates a poor environment for root growth and function; also the soil
biological community is adversely affected. Soils with poor quality cannot retain
sufficient nutrients and moisture.We can address this problem in several well
known ways. These include. Adding compost, manure , mulches, and other organic residues
Reducing the intensity and frequency of tillage
Growing cover crops, especially legume sods
Restricting wheel and human traffic to specific areas of the field, such as grass
aisles or drive lanes. In addition to these common methods, it appears that there is another
adding wood chips to the soil. From 1951 to1965, a remarkable experiment was carried out on a Soil
Conservation Service research farm in Marcellus, NY. The project is written up in a 1971
Cornell bulletin called, “Soil Management for Vegetable Production on Honeoye
Soil with Special Reference to the Use of Hardwood Chips” by G. R. Free. This 15
year study used a 5 year vegetable rotation of sweet corn, beans, tomatoes, cabbage, and peas.
It compared 14 different treatments, including several in which 10 tons per acre moist
weight (7 tons dry weight) of wood chips were added each year. Other treatments looked
at using overwintered ryegrass or bromegrass cover crops, and more extensive rotations
in which legume sod hay crops were substituted for the beans and tomatoes. The hay
crops were harvested and removed, not simply plowed under. Crops were fertilized with
chemical fertilizers and (as seems likely) probably sprayed for pests and weeds. Crops
were also cultivated for weed control.
Some results were apparent within a few years and continued for the duration of the
project. Yields of most crops were improved with the addition of wood chips and best
when the chips were topdressed on the soil surface after the crops were planted instead of
being plowed under. Over the years, soil organic matter (SOM) and nitrogen increased in
the chip amended plots, while they dropped in the chipless plots without cover crops.
Including yearly grass cover crops allowed SOM and soil nitrogen to stay at about an
even level over the 15 years