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nes
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Location: Rural Ottawa, ON

Using wood chips to control weeds?

Be careful what you wish for... :shock: Hydro asked me if they could give us some chips while they were cleaning up the trees around here, well I ended up with 3 giant piles! My husband wasn't too pleased but I'm pretty happy :D.

Other then using them to control weeds in all our perennial gardens, I'm thinking about putting them into the veggie garden too.

Right now I'm re-claiming our veg garden (just moved in last year), as it's mostly weeds, but at once point in the not-to-distant-past was an obviously well producing farm-house garden, so no beyond hope.

I'm thinking about piling chips over the soil to control weeds; has anyone done this & what was your experience?
(amount of chips it would take is no object!!)
Any ideas as to what this might do for my soil in the coming years, it's heavy clay loam.

Our other option is very old hay that's been left in the barn, I have to get rid of it anyway but this is actually a total PITA to get OUT in a big amount and we use it for bedding for the cows.

We have a LOT of stinging nettles in the garden, which I'm sure anyone can imagine, is not very pleasant. That's mostly what I'm interested in controlling, everything else isn't a big deal.

We're an organic farm so no pesticide suggestions please :).
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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soil
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we use wood chips all over our place, excellent soil builders. we do wood chips covered with straw. the wood chips are fungi food and they like to be on the bottom, the straw is bacterial and they like it on top, this way you get great nutrient cycling and a weed free garden.
We have a LOT of stinging nettles in the garden, which I'm sure anyone can imagine, is not very pleasant. That's mostly what I'm interested in controlling, everything else isn't a big deal.
your pulling out excellent food and medicine. if you cant beat it, eat it.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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nes
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Location: Rural Ottawa, ON

soil wrote:your pulling out excellent food and medicine. if you cant beat it, eat it.
Yes I've heard it make a delicious tea, but based on what it feels after you've hit a big patch with out noticing and both your entire hands go numb 3 hours later... I'm more then a little hesitant to actually try it.

We have lots more in other areas of the farm where my hands are constantly moving over :).
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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applestar
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If you don't want to consume the stinging nettle yourself, you should remember that it's also excellent fertilizer. Compost them or make tea out of them. I've also heard that they are nutritious animal and poultry feed.

I'm actually TRYING to get them to grow into a patch on part of my small property. I found two isolated plants umm... three? years ago. :lol:

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soil
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use clean gloves and long sleeves nes, once cooked or made into tea the stingers go away. drinking the tea even twice a week could change your world.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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nes
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Location: Rural Ottawa, ON

-la,la,la,la- I can't hear you :lol: (I am kidding!)

I hate wearing long sleeves while I garden, I've given up on gloves this year too. Already up to my shins in poop around here :D. We've also got young kids though & they're my bigger concern, the sting really hurts. You may yet convince me on the nettle tea but I still want it out of my strawberry patch.

I have had no luck convincing the poultry to eat it, any suggestions? Do I need to dry it out first or just confine them to that area so they have to eat it?
(I have prissy chickens they want all the bugs and leave the weeds, but we're getting geese very soon)

You're more then welcome to mine Aps! I'm also giving away thistle to anyone who wants some!! (Which I have actually seen my animals eat, so we're only removing it from areas bare feet may roam).

I thinking more about this wood chip thing, is it going to become a total pain to dig in the soil before the chips decompose? It's a mostly cedar mix so we're going to get more then a few years out of it.
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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HannahGrace
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I've been looking into getting wood chips for our garden. My family recently came across a film about a man some place around Oregon or Washington who uses woodchips and has a beautiful garden!!! :)

I don't like wearing sleeves or gloves when I garden either. Who cares if my hands and fingernails come out dirty, scratched and just a mess! Gloves just get in the way, I think. :)

mattie g
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Location: Northern VA, USA -- Zone 7a

Our house had pine bark mulch in the (former) playground...which has since been turned into our garden. It was pretty thick when we bought the house almost three years ago, but it has since almost totally broken down and become part of the soil. A lot of that has to do with turning some of the soil over before last summer when we prepped the garden, but it's pretty shocking at how quickly it all "composted" once we started working it.

pickupguy07
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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:06 pm
Location: GA

be on the lookout for..........

I wanted to share this info with everyone since the topic was mulch.
I am sure, like in our area, there are SEVERAL locations that people can get mulch for FREE, they just don't know it.

Here's where to check. The local power company in your area.
An example is we have Jackson EMC in our area, and needless to say they are always clearing up fallen trees, cutting old trees to prevent future issues, or just clearing areas when they need to get to work.
I am sure all of you have saw the enclosed trucks pulling those big chipper/shredders. ALL that "waste" has to go somewhere.
I'm my area the power company dumps it all in piles in a certain area close to their truck storage facility. My Dad spoke to a power company employee, and they said they dump it out and HOPE people will come and get it. (Might be better to ask first..??) But we've been getting what we need from there for 6+ years now.

Just last week it was time to re-do all the areas in my yard. Dad has a pickup with an enclosed camper cover on it. We found just the PERFECT chips they had last cut. Cypress mulch (chips). EXACTLY what I would of bought in the store. IMO can't get any better, they smell good and are small and not big & bulky.

In any event we got 3 pickup loads filled to the top of the camper cover.
Dad and I figured if we took the size of a bag you buy in the store, and figured how many bags the pickup would hold, we came up to about 175 bags per load. SO with a total of 500+ bags of mulch (and here they seem to be about $5 / bag) that means we helped the environment and saved a cool $2,500

Check around folks,.. this is the time of the year they do a LOT of cutting. All you need is a pickup, and a couple pitch forks.[/b]
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

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