wood chips are great for a cover crop. anyone who tells you the LIE that it will tie up nitrogen, tell them to go test the nitrogen and plant/tree health out in the forest floor and then come talk to ya cuz it's totally bogus. that only happens WHEN you MIX the chip down INTO the soil, not when it's used as a COVER CROP.
anyhoo. have you checked out the movie back to eden film dot com? scroll down and click play. as someone who is a wild mushroom hunter, i always thought there was something to the beautiful lush bouncing with air forest floor.
ain't no body out in the forest tilling the earth, adding fertilizers or disturbing the soil, it's all a perfect system, not a lot o work necessary.
in terms of cover crop don't think you really need one, i would just cover with 4-6 inches of well aged organic manure (horse or chicken) and 6-8 inches of wood chips. and when you want to plant something, part the chips and plant in the soil. when it gets to be 3 inches, push the wood chips back up to the plant. free watering w those chips. just went to visit the farm in the film. amazing unbelievable beautiful tasty he give free tours on sunday at 2:30 and you get to try all the food you want from his woodchip masterpiece!